MEUW Weekly :: March 9, 2021

Public Service Commissioners to consider ending shut-off moratorium: The three-person Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSC) is expected to review a number of matters regarding the PSC’s response to the public health emergency at its open meeting on Thursday, March 18. Commissioners will review information related to disconnection plans and quarterly reporting about arrears and collection information submitted by utilities, including a 27-page memo drafted by PSC staff.

The discussion comes nearly one year to the day after a PSC order on March 24, 2020, prohibited all of the state’s utilities from disconnecting or refusing service due to nonpayment. A summary of the PSC’s potential actions and decision alternatives is available here.

The PSC has provided utilities and other stakeholders an opportunity to provide comment in advance of the March 18 discussion. MEUW intends to file comments supporting a “return to normal” and reinforcing the fact that “disconnection is always a last resort, but it remains a necessary tool to encourage customers to work with [municipal utilities] to address their unpaid balances.” We will, of course, monitor the Commissioners’ discussion and provide an update on the outcome and next steps for our MEUW member utilities.

Sign up now for Confined Space Entry webinar: MEUW is hosting a Confined Space Entry online training on Tuesday, April 6. The three-hour webinar begins at 8:30 a.m. and is designed to refresh participants on regulatory requirements and hazard controls for Permit-Required Confined Spaces. It will be conducted by Tim Palet, an instructor who brings decades of knowledge and experience on the subject. Topics to be covered include air monitoring, fall protection, ventilation, and non-entry rescue. Registration details are here.

The March edition of Live Lines was distributed last week. In case you missed it, you can find it online here.

Registration now open for Electric Operations Expo: MEUW plans to hold an outdoor event with breakout sessions, a large trade show, equipment demonstrations, and a lot of networking on Thursday, April 29, at the Sauk County Fairgrounds in Baraboo. The 2021 “Electric Operations Expo” is being held in partnership with the Wisconsin Electric Cooperative Association (WECA) and Wisconsin Utility Suppliers Association (WUSA). Personnel from cooperative and municipal utilities have been invited to take part. More than 70 vendors have already registered for exhibit space.

The event will begin at 8:30 a.m. and conclude by 2 p.m. It will be held rain or shine (the typical daytime high in late April is 55°). Green Bay Packers Hall of Famer Mark Tauscher will be the keynote speaker after lunch. Graduating apprentices who would typically have been celebrated at the January banquet will be recognized, and MEUW’s Safety Achievement Awards for 2020 performance also will be presented.

Full details and registration information is available here. The “Early Bird” registration discount is available until April 1.

Changes to MEUW Board: MEUW District 1 Director Leo Diehl has resigned from the Board of Directors ahead of his upcoming retirement from Rice Lake Utilities in May. Per MEUW’s Bylaws, Weston Arndt of New Richmond Utilities, who was the District 1 Alternate Director, will now serve as Director. MEUW Board President Brian Knapp appointed Dean Bergstrom of Cumberland Utilities as District 1 Alternate Director to serve the remainder of Wes’s term, which expires at the MEUW Annual Meeting in May.

Transformer for sale: Belmont Water and Light Utility is currently offering a transformer for sale. Full details are available here.

Plan now for a longer nap this weekend: Daylight Saving Time officially begins at 2 a.m. on Sunday, March 14, so remember that you’ll lose an hour of sleep and should set your clocks ahead one hour this Saturday night.