Utilities provide mutual aid to Stoughton following weekend tornado: The National Weather Service has confirmed it was a tornado, with winds of up to 95 miles per hour, that caused damage in Stoughton late Saturday, March 5. The funnel cloud touched down at about 9:55 p.m. and was part of a line of severe storms that took down power poles and blew out windows.
Stoughton Utilities Director Jill Weiss said that roughly 75% of the utility’s 9,000 electric customers initially lost power Saturday night due to the storm. About 400 customers were still without power on Sunday afternoon.
Jill called the MEUW Mutual Aid Hotline shortly after the Stoughton crews realized the scope of the damage and said she was “in awe” by the quick response. Crews from Cedarburg, Hartford, Lake Mills, Mount Horeb, Prairie du Sac, Sauk City, and Waunakee answered the call for mutual aid. Jill noted, it was “incredibly generous and kind of them to help support us when we’re in need.” Nine other MEUW members were on standby to help.
Jill said the strong winds caused many secondary services to go down and described how quickly crews could respond when electricians would call to report the masts were up. She said the mutual aid crews were ready to restore customers’ service as soon as the calls started.
“It was an incredible outpouring of support from our municipal utility partners,” Jill told the Wisconsin State Journal. Her advice for fellow MEUW members: When you think you might need mutual aid, make the call. Don’t wait.
MEUW Manager of Safety Services Mike Czuprynko noted, “Call us right away, and then assess the damage. MEUW will find the crews. They’ll need direction as soon as they arrive.” One call to MEUW’s Mutual Aid Hotline — 1-844-MEUW-911 — triggers an immediate response to organize resources and support a utility’s recovery.
Last chance to register for next week’s Watt-Hour Metering Workshop: The Watt-Hour Metering Workshop is being held March 15-17 at Northeast Wisconsin Technical College (NWTC) in Green Bay. The three-day workshop is considered a must-attend event for meter technicians, as industry leaders will explain new technologies and approved work practices. Other agenda highlights include verifying and identifying metering inaccuracies and choosing the correct metering equipment. There is a half-day “Pre-Workshop Session” beginning at 12:30 p.m. on Monday, March 14, that covers basic metering for those who are new to metering or would like a refresher. Click here to learn more and to sign up.
The March edition of Live Lines was distributed last week. In case you missed it, you can find it online here.
Tell us what you think! MEUW is currently conducting a member survey to gather feedback about the services and future direction of the association. Responses will be accepted through Friday, March 18. The survey link has been sent directly to key contacts at each of our member utilities. Anyone associated with one of our member utilities is also invited to complete the survey, which is available here. The survey is an important part of the association’s planning.
Leadership workshop set for April 7 in Mauston: To further support efforts to develop the next generation of municipal utility leaders, MEUW is holding a workshop that explores 10 skills essential for leadership — empathy, communications, teamwork, problem-solving, time management, attitude, adaptability, ability to learn, confidence, and networking — and how today’s leaders can leverage those skills to deliver results. Discussions at the one-day “Pathways to Leadership” workshop on Thursday, April 7, will benefit municipal utility leaders of all experience levels, including those who may be new to their role, those in line for leadership, and those who already have extensive experience and simply want to learn from others responsible for similar work. Full details are available here.
Data collection underway for annual Wage & Benefits Survey: Every year, MEUW collects information about the pay and perks provided to public power employees across the state. Based on member feedback, this year’s data collection began early, to allow for the results to be shared in time for municipal budgeting. Instructions for completing this year’s survey were recently shared with key contacts at each utility. Full details about this year’s Wage & Benefits Survey are available here. As a reminder, only those utilities that provide information for the survey are able to receive the results. The deadline to respond is April 8.
Upcoming workshops focus on underground and overhead line work: MEUW is holding two separate hands-on training sessions next month to enable lineworkers to fine-tune their skills and deepen their knowledge.
- Underground School will take place April 21-22 at Southwest Wisconsin Technical College (SWTC) in Fennimore.
- Overhead Rubber Gloving School will take place April 28-29 at Northeast Wisconsin Technical College (NWTC) in Green Bay.
Each of the workshops provides targeted training for all lineworkers, regardless of experience level or equipment. Participants will rotate through a series of workstations to safely practice different procedures and receive feedback. The cost for each workshop is $255 per person, with discounts available for multiple attendees from the same utility. Look for details at MEUW.org. Questions should be directed to Randy Larson at (715) 559-7542.
April 1 is deadline to nominate individuals for MEUW awards: Throughout our 93-year history, MEUW has proudly recognized individual contributions and achievements toward advancing public power through awards presented 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 from your utility or community, please complete the nomination form and submit it by April 1. Awards will be presented during a breakfast ceremony at MEUW’s Annual Conference on May 12.