Utility workers among those “next in line” for COVID-19 vaccine: The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) today announced that “some public-facing essential workers” — which includes certain utility workers — will be eligible to get vaccine injections around March 1 (pending Wisconsin’s vaccine supply from the federal government).
Utility workers had been included in Phase 1B of the coronavirus vaccination prioritization plan approved by the State Disaster Medical Advisory Committee (SDMAC) last week. The SDMAC advises the DHS on vaccine protocols. The prioritization applies to “workers who cannot socially distance and are responsible for the fundamental processes and facilities that ensure electric, natural gas, steam, water, wastewater, internet, and telecommunications services are built, maintained, generated, distributed, and delivered to customers.”
Additional guidance and full details will be forthcoming. In the meantime, this is an important step toward ensuring frontline electric utility workers have priority access to the COVID-19 vaccine as it becomes available. Thanks to the many MEUW member utilities that took time to submit comments to the SDMAC. It’s worth noting that utility workers have not been included in Phase 1B of most federal or state vaccine prioritization plans, so this outcome in Wisconsin is testament to the power of working together on behalf of our industry.
Time is running out to register for “Lineman University Online”: MEUW’s Lineman University training is online this year, and this Friday (Jan. 29) is the deadline to sign up. The program is filled with a wide variety of topics, ranging from solar to electric vehicles and 5G to supervisor liabilities. There’s certain to be a lot of important learning and information sharing. The complete agenda can be found here.
Lineman U is scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 2, and will begin at 8 a.m. The online training is open to all MEUW members and is especially targeted for lineworkers to help educate them on timely topics and trends in the electric industry. There are a total of seven presentations planned, with breaks between each speaker and a 30-minute break for lunch.
The registration fee is $95 per person for MEUW members (each attendee requires unique login credentials to participate). Register online here.
In response to member feedback, we’re also offering a “group-view” option that enables MEUW member utilities to have four or more workers gather together to watch the Lineman U presentations in a group setting for a discounted fee of $325. Please call MEUW Member Services Specialist Mallory at (608) 469-6009 to take advantage of this offer.
MEUW’s Board of Directors met via Zoom on Jan. 15. The draft minutes of the Board meeting are here.
Next Management Training Program session is Feb. 17: Session A in MEUW’s six-part Management Training Program, which deals with topics related to Communication, Time and Project Management, is scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 17, in Wisconsin Dells. (Note: Personal interaction is an important element of MEUW’s Management Training Program, so the training will be exclusively in person without the option for virtual attendance. And because safety remains our top priority, attendees will be required to wear face coverings and follow social-distancing guidelines.) For more information or to register, click here.
Excavation Competent Person Webinar planned for March 2: MEUW is hosting an Excavation Competent Person online training on Tuesday, March 2. The webinar will be conducted by Tim Palet, an instructor who brings decades of knowledge and experience to this training. Upon completion, attendees will be certified as Competent Persons according to OSHA standards. This “virtual” workshop is a repeat of one offered in person last summer. The complete agenda and registration information is available here.