MEUW prepared to manage mutual aid if needed during pandemic: Preventing the spread of COVID-19 among essential utility workers adds a new layer of coordination for mutual aid, and MEUW is working proactively to address the challenges. In the short-term, anticipated mutual aid events could involve significant weather-related or prolonged power outages and/or a reduction in essential workers due to illness.
During this public health crisis, mutual aid will generally be coordinated among neighboring public power utilities. Utilities that are a greater distance (50 miles or more) from the requesting utility will be called on as a last resort. In most cases, workers will return to their homes each night to avoid staying at hotels.
Responding utilities should recognize the potential risks of assisting another utility at this time, and to make sure employees they intend to send for mutual aid are healthy. Requesting utilities are expected to provide specific jobs tasks that need to be completed (with approximate time frames). MEUW has compiled a checklist of things for both the requesting and responding utility to consider. That information is available on MEUW’s Website here.
If a utility needs mutual aid assistance, please call MEUW’s Mutual Aid Hotline at 1-844-MEUW-911 (638-9911). You may also contact Mike Czuprynko, MEUW’s Manager of Safety Services, at (608) 478-2530 or Mark Zielsdorf, Electric Utility Safety and Training Coordinator, at (906) 231-6422 (available around the clock).
PSC answers questions about rules suspended during pandemic: The Public Service Commission of Wisconsin is providing resources to help utility staff address issues arising from the public health emergency. Answers to frequently asked questions – including some that came directly from MEUW – and links to resources are available here.
Beware of potential for increased cyberattacks during pandemic: Bad actors may try to exploit this national emergency for their personal gain. This could include phishing attacks to gain unauthorized access to computer networks and critical energy control systems. This fast-changing and dynamic environment could allow your municipality to be a target for emails that contain malicious attachments or links to fraudulent websites in order to trick victims into revealing sensitive information or taking actions like donating to sham charities. Please be mindful of the risk from external emails and phishing. Remember to exercise caution when opening any emails related to COVID-19 and depend on reliable sources to avoid confusion with misinformation.
Flaggers Training to be offered by webinar: Due to travel restrictions and limits on group gatherings, we are taking a new approach with the MEUW-sponsored Flaggers Training Courses. Instead of a four-hour, in-person training, we are now offering a three-hour webinar session that will satisfy the training requirement. Those who were already registered for an in-person session have the option to roll-over their registration for one of the webinar sessions.
The webinar is available on Monday, April 13, Thursday, April 21, Wednesday, April 29, Tuesday, May 5, and Thursday, May 14. Each session will begin at 9 a.m. and conclude by 12 noon. Participants can join the webinar from any internet-connected computer, tablet or smartphone from anywhere. Information to register is available here.
Those who complete the webinar and then pass a required quiz will receive their certification card. Login instructions and links to materials needed for the webinar will be sent once a participant’s registration has been confirmed.
The cost is $62.50 per person, and the training is open to any municipal employee (not just electric workers). Seating is limited to 40 for each session.
Online training options expected soon: MEUW is currently testing capabilities to provide online access to some of the training offered through the Regional Safety Program. MEUW’s software licensing and the different technologies used by member communities has complicated the compatibility testing needed before the online launch. If you have time and are interested in helping to test the functionality, please contact Sean Wall. Additional details will be shared when the online offering is available.
MEUW Board change: MEUW Board President John Murphy has appointed Chad Renly, Municipal Services Director for the City of Evansville, to serve as Alternate Director for District 9 on MEUW’s Board of Directors, until the association’s Annual Meeting in May 2021. District 9 includes Black Earth, Brodhead, Evansville, Mazomanie, Mount Horeb, New Glarus, Stoughton, Sun Prairie and Waunakee. He replaces Jeff Peterson, who has retired; the appointment is subject to approval by the full Board.
Deadline for MEUW Honors and Awards nominations is today: Annually, the association proudly recognizes individual contributions and achievements toward advancing public power by presenting awards at the Annual Conference. We are currently accepting nominations in a number of categories. Full details are available at MEUW.org/awards. To nominate someone, please complete the nomination form and submit it by close of business on Tuesday, March 31. Nominations received by the deadline that meet specific criteria will be reviewed by the Awards Committee.
Nomination period for MEUW Board of Directors now open: MEUW is currently accepting nominations for interested individuals to serve on the association’s Board of Directors for a two-year term beginning May 15, 2020. This year’s election will be for Directors and Alternate Directors in even-numbered districts. The Nomination Form and additional information is available here. The deadline to nominate someone is Friday, April 17.
Association providing resources to help members respond to coronavirus pandemic: MEUW is focused on providing timely, accurate information to members, especially as the response to COVID-19 continues to evolve. We are providing regular updates and adding new information on our Website, where you can find links to resources and relevant materials.
As a reminder, the MEUW Office is currently open during limited hours in accordance with the “Safer at Home” guidelines. The best way to reach a member of the staff is by email, as most are working remotely. A staff directory is available here. We appreciate your patience in replying to your requests during this time.