Legislative proposal seeks to mandate utility participation in community solar: State lawmakers are being asked to consider legislation that would allow Wisconsinites to get electricity from unregulated, independent solar companies. MEUW, along with other utility trade associations, opposes the legislation because it erodes the time-tested protections afforded by proper utility regulation and due to the potential impact on non-participating utility customers.
The legislative proposal would require utilities to purchase energy produced by community solar arrays. MEUW supports the concept of community solar, and some municipal utilities already offer the option to their customers. A law requiring utilities to provide community solar programs or cooperate with independent, unregulated developers is not needed, especially given the popularity community solar already enjoys.
In a joint letter to state legislators, MEUW and our utility and trade association allies wrote, “The out-of-state community solar developers would benefit from using the grid with no obligation to be a provider of last resort or maintain grid reliability, as Wisconsin’s utilities are required to do … all of the reward with none of the risk.” The full letter can be found here.
MEUW will continue to monitor the proposal and provide updates as needed.
Sturgeon Bay Utilities invites observers for spacer-cable installation: On Tuesday, Aug. 17, SBU plans to string 5,000 feet of three-phase Hendrix spacer cable as part of a circuit reconductoring project. MEUW members are invited to come watch or participate in the installation in order to understand and get a better feel for the product. The day will begin with a 6 a.m. pre-job briefing. Representatives from Hendrix will be on site to answer questions, and the company is providing lunch for those in attendance. The rain date is Wednesday, Aug. 18. Those interested are asked to RSVP to SBU Electric Supervisor Jason Bieri by Monday Aug. 9. Also, area hotel rooms are in high demand at this time of year, so early reservations are advised.
Electric metering group to meet in La Crosse next month: The Upper Midwest Metering Association (UMMA), a group that connects electric metering professionals from a five-state area, will hold its summer meeting Aug. 18-20 at the Radisson Hotel in La Crosse. UMMA was formed in the mid-1990s and includes electric metering supervisors, technicians, and electricians from municipal, cooperative, and investor-owned utilities of all sizes. Employees of municipal utilities in Wisconsin are invited to attend UMMA’s meeting and participate in roundtable discussions, networking, and training on a wide variety of electric metering topics. To learn more, click here.
Contribute your feedback for PSC website redesign: The Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSC) plan to redesign its website (www.psc.wi.gov) to make it more user-friendly and transparent. As part of the process, PSC staff are collecting feedback to better understand what resources are most needed. As regular users of the PSC website, municipal utility employees are encouraged to provide input by completing a brief survey available here. The deadline to submit a response is July 28.
July 31 is deadline for required PSC filings: All utilities are required to submit their latest COVID-related quarterly report filings to the Public Service Commission (PSC) by the July 31 deadline. This is another round of reports on arrears and collection information, as well as details about utilities’ plans for communicating with customers about collections and arrears management, and the financial impacts of the utility’s arrears. This round of responses pertains to second quarter of 2021. The surveys are available at links found here: 5-UI-120 Quarterly Reporting and 5-AF-105 Quarterly Reporting.
Providing a response to the two surveys is mandatory for every utility in the state, regardless of size. A number of municipal utilities failed to comply with previous filing requirements (including those that were due April 30, 2021). It’s important that everyone submit the required information to the PSC by the July 31 deadline.
Accounting and Customer Service Seminar will “showcase” member ideas: MEUW’s annual gathering of municipal electric utility personnel involved in accounting, customer service, and utility billing is planned for Thursday, Sept. 23, at the Kalahari Resort in Wisconsin Dells. A portion of the seminar agenda will be dedicated to “member showcase” discussions to allow utility attendees to share insights about their accounting, rates, billing, or customer service practices and successes. Each showcase discussion will be limited to 15 minutes, and each utility chosen to share will be offered a 50% discount toward one seminar registration fee. To be considered, please complete the “call for presenters” form here by July 23.
“Early bird” registration rate for Annual Conference expires next week: Public power leaders from across the state will gather in Manitowoc for MEUW’s 91st Annual Conference happening Aug. 11 to 13. The registration fee increases by $30 after Aug. 1. The conference features a number of special guest speakers, a wide variety of breakout sessions, numerous opportunities to network, and the chance to celebrate our municipal utilities’ achievements. Full details about the conference and a link to register are available here.
Manitowoc Public Utilities will offer tours for Annual Conference attendees: MPU, Wisconsin’s largest public power utility, is the “host utility” for the 91st Annual Conference in Manitowoc, and is offering the opportunity to visit and tour the utility’s facilities and power plant, located on the shores of Lake Michigan. The tour site is a short, 10-minute drive from the conference hotel. The tour begins at 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 11. There is no additional cost for paid conference registrants and their guests, however, sign up is required. Complete details will be provided to conference registrants in early August.
Bring a guest to Manitowoc for the Annual Conference: Spouses, partners, family members, or significant others are welcome to attend MEUW’s 91st Annual Conference as a guest of a paid registrant. For $25 to cover meal costs and other event expenses, they’ll have full access to conference activities, including the tours, welcome reception, and keynote presentation. To register a guest, click here. Payment by credit card at the time of registration is preferred. If you need an alternate payment method or have questions about the guest registration, please contact Mallory Conradt at (608) 469-6009
Sign up now for MEUW golf outing: Whether or not you plan to attend the MEUW Annual Conference, you’re invited to participate in the pre-conference golf outing. The four-person scramble is planned for Wednesday, Aug. 11, with an 11:00 a.m. shotgun start. Sponsored in part by the Wisconsin Utility Suppliers Association (WUSA), the outing will take place at the Autumn Ridge Golf Club just west of Manitowoc. Click here for details and to access registration information.