MEUW Weekly :: January 17, 2023

PSC decides to ask for more info in third-party solar proceeding: The three-person Public Service Commission took up a 2022 petition from Midwest Renewable Energy Association (MREA) at its regular meeting on Jan. 10, opting to request additional record evidence before deciding on a declaratory ruling regarding third-party financed distributed energy resources. The Commissioners discussed differences between MREA’s petition and a similar one filed by Vote Solar in which they voted 2-1 on Dec. 1 to allow a Stevens Point family to lease a solar system, finding the project doesn’t sell power to the public.

MEUW is among the 18 parties that intervened in the docket. MREA has petitioned the PSC for a declaratory ruling that third-party financed distributed energy resources are not public utilities as defined in Wis. Stat. § 196.01(5)(a), and therefore not subject to this Commission’s jurisdiction under any statute or rule regulating public utilities. At last week’s meeting, Commission Chair Rebecca Valcq and Commissioner Tyler Huebner voted to reopen the record in an effort to understand more about the distributed energy resources MREA referenced in its petition. Commissioner Ellen Nowak dissented, urging her colleagues to rule on a case-by-case basis and noting that MREA could re-file if they wanted.

MEUW will continue to provide regular updates to the membership about these important regulatory proceedings; background information is posted at

Communications & Project Management training is Feb. 15:  MEUW is launching a new approach to its professional development programs this year. The first course in the new four-part “Fundamentals of Utility Management” training series will teach participants about effective communications and project management and why they are important to operating a successful municipal utility. The one-day training is scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 15, in Mauston, and is designed for municipal workers of all skill levels and backgrounds as a foundation for understanding the public power industry. The discussion will be especially helpful for newcomers and those who aspire to expanded responsibilities. Full details are available here.

Useful lineworker training opportunity next month in Eau Claire: Every year, Chippewa Valley Technical College (CVTC) hosts a two-day workshop focused on important topics essential to lineworker safety and training. Through a new collaboration, MEUW is now helping to organize the training topics and presenters. The 2023 version of the Apparatus Workshop will cover jobsite safety, capacitors, voltage regulators, reclosers, trip savers, meters, and streetlights, among other topics. CVTC’s third-year electric line apprentices will attend the training, which is also open to lineworkers of all experience levels. The interactive group sessions allow for hands-on training and valuable networking. Training is planned for Feb. 14 and 15 at CVTC’s Energy Education Center in Eau Claire. The cost is $150 per person. Full details and registration info are here.

Feb. 1 workshop is focused on troubleshooting your system: MEUW is hosting a one-day workshop to help member utilities learn more about how to proactively address problems on their electric-distribution system. Dave Krause, PE, of EPS Engineering & Design, Inc. will lead the workshop and highlight types of system faults and equipment reactions as well as different types of protective devices for overhead, underground, and substation equipment. The workshop is planned for Wednesday, Feb. 1, and will be held at The Lodge At Mauston from 9 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. Further details and registration information is available on MEUW’s website here.

NESC Code changes are topic of February seminar: The National Electrical Safety Code (NESC) is the go-to standard for electric and telecom utility companies. The code is updated every five years (the 2023 edition was released last August and will become effective Feb. 1). MEUW is holding a one-day seminar to enable members to learn about the fundamental applications of the NESC to electric utility transmission and distribution systems and be informed about the important 2023 updates. The seminar is planned for Thursday, Feb. 23, at The Lodge At Mauston and will be led by Bruce Beth and Justin Franz from Forster Electrical Engineering. The program will include group discussions and Q&A around rule interpretations, compliance issues, with information about resources for help. Full details and registration information is available on MEUW’s website here.

The deadline to apply for MEUW’s “Powering Futures” scholarship is Thursday, Jan. 26. Full details are available here. Applicants must be pursuing post-secondary education to become a Field Service Technician, Groundman, Lineman Apprentice, Electric Meter Technician, Substation Electrician Apprentice or Utility Technician.

Re-focused Watt-Hour Workshop planned for March: You’ll want to mark your calendars for March 14-16 to take advantage of an annual training program with a new focus in 2023. MEUW routinely hosts the Watt-Hour Meter Workshop to help meter technicians learn more about new technologies and approved work practices. Recognizing that lineworkers are often tasked with installing meter sets, this year’s workshop will provide a back-to-basics understanding for anyone who needs to expand their knowledge about the intricacies of meter installations and why the details matter. Through classroom and hands-on training, the program will benefit the beginner, intermediate, and experienced utility worker, covering topics like verifying and identifying metering inaccuracies, and choosing the correct metering equipment. The workshop is planned for Northeast Wisconsin Technical College in Green Bay and there will be options to attend all or part of the three-day workshop. The complete agenda and registration info will be available soon.