MEUW Weekly :: Jan. 14, 2020

Huebsch leaving Public Service Commission next month: PSC Commissioner Mike Huebsch, who was appointed to a six-year term by then-Gov. Scott Walker in March 2015, announced he is retiring from state government and will leave the PSC on Feb. 3. The announcement came Monday, Jan. 13, and made no mention of Huebsch’s future plans.

Huebsch served in the Wisconsin legislature, representing the 94th Assembly District in western Wisconsin from 1995 to 2011, serving as Assembly Majority Leader and then as Assembly Speaker. After Gov. Walker’s election, Huebsch was appointed Secretary of the Department of Administration in 2011, a position he held until joining the PSC in 2015.

The PSC is composed of three full-time Commissioners who are appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the State Senate for staggered, six-year terms. Huebsch’s retirement provides Gov. Tony Evers an opportunity to appoint a Commissioner who will complete the remaining year of Huebsch’s term. The new Commissioner will join PSC Chairperson Rebecca Cameron Valcq, who was appointed by Gov. Evers in 2019, and Commissioner Ellen Nowak, who was appointed by Gov. Walker in 2018.  


Electric Operations Conference & Expo starts tomorrow! We’re looking forward to seeing many of you at the Kalahari Resort in Wisconsin Dells tomorrow. More than 200 participants are registered and 65 municipal utilities will be represented. The annual conference – formerly known as the Joint Superintendents’ Conference – is organized by MEUW in cooperation with Wisconsin Electric Cooperative Association (WECA).

The keynote speaker for this year’s event is Kit Welchlin, a professional speaker and trainer who will address workplace communications. In his presentation, “Communicating Across the Generations at Work,” Welchlin will offer ideas to sort through the stereotypes associated with Boomers, Xers, Millennials and Gen Z employees.

Other conference topics include mutual aid and disaster recovery funding, energy theft deterrence, asset management for substation equipment, OSHA’s silica rule, Smart Grid and more. Many of the presentations will be available online after the conference. Full details are provided in the program brochure, which will be distributed at registration check-in.

The annual Apprentice Graduation banquet – honoring more than 50 new journeymen tradespeople in electric line work and metering – will be held Wednesday evening. Attendees also will have the chance to visit more than 75 manufacturers and suppliers of the latest and most in-demand products and services at Thursday afternoon’s Expo. The MEUW Board of Directors also will meet on Friday morning in conjunction with the conference.


The January edition of Live Lines was distributed last week. In case you missed it, you can find it online here.


Join your public power colleagues for MEUW “Day at the Capitol” on Feb. 13: MEUW is organizing a great networking opportunity to help educate legislative leaders about issues that matter to the public power industry and our communities. The “Day at the Capitol” will take place on Thursday, Feb. 13. There is no cost to participate, and all MEUW members are encouraged to take advantage of the chance to let our legislators know what’s important to municipal electric utilities.

The Madison Concourse Hotel will serve as the staging site for the day, which will begin at 8:30 a.m. After a brief informational session to introduce the issues and provide talking points, small groups will make their way to the Capitol to visit Senate and Assembly offices for pre-arranged meetings with legislators and their staffs. The event wraps up with a group lunch and discussion back at the Concourse.

To learn more and to register for the free event, please click here.


Sign up for NESC Code seminar in Plymouth: A two-day seminar designed to increase members’ knowledge of the National Electrical Safety Code (NESC) as well as code requirements under Public Service Commission of Wisconsin sections 113, 114 and 119 will be held Jan. 28 and 29 at Plymouth Utilities. The registration fee is $175 per person. The complete agenda and link to register can be found here. The sign-up deadline is Jan. 24.


Lineman University offers valuable refresher training: A training seminar targeted for experienced lineworkers is being offered Tuesday, Feb. 4, at Chippewa Valley Technical College’s Energy Education Center in Eau Claire. Based on MEUW member feedback, this year’s “Lineman U” program has been consolidated to a single day to make it easier for more to attend.

The daylong session will offer a variety of technical and safety presentations, hands-on training, insights about the latest equipment, and many networking opportunities. The morning will include breakout sessions to enable participants to get information about the topics that most interest them. Among the topics to be covered are how wind power is affecting the grid, electric vehicles, how utility workers can help spot signs of human trafficking, proper care and use of arc-rated clothing, and more.

The complete agenda and registration information is available here. The registration fee for MEUW member utility employees is $275.


“Powering Futures” scholarship applications due by end of month: Applications for MEUW’s new “Powering Futures” scholarship program are due on Jan. 31. The Powering Futures Scholarship Fund was created in 2018 in order to grow the number of qualified tradespeople for positions in municipal electric utilities. Each one-time scholarship awarded is for $500.

To be eligible, students must reside in one of over 80 Wisconsin communities operating an electric utility and must be pursuing post-secondary education to become a Field Service Technician, Groundman, Lineman Apprentice, Electric Meter Technician, Substation Electrician Apprentice or Utility Technician.

Member utilities can help grow the fund and enable MEUW to award more (or larger) scholarships to support our future workforce. One way to help is by rounding up your annual dues payment. Every cent of the excess payment will be put toward the Powering Futures Fund. So, for example, if your 2020 dues are $1,202.94, please consider paying $1,225.00 and put the extra $22.06 to work funding scholarships. Eight member utilities “rounded up” their 2019 dues payments, enabling us to award three additional $500 scholarships in 2020. 

For more information and to review the complete criteria, visit meuw.org/scholarship. The recipients will be recognized at MEUW’s Annual Conference in May.


Utility Accounting and Finance subject of upcoming Management Training session: The next session in MEUW’s popular and long-standing Management Training Program focuses utility accounting and finance. The one-day session will be led by Jodi Dobson, a partner in the Energy and Utilities Group at Baker Tilly.

The training (Session D in the series) takes place on Wednesday, Feb. 26, at the Hotel Marshfield. Complete details about the subject matter and a biography of the instructor are available here.

The Management Training Program provides education for existing managers, mid-level managers and future management prospects. Participants may start at any point in the six-session series and are recognized after completing the program.