MEUW Weekly :: November 8, 2022

Registration now open for January Electric Operations Conference & Expo: Once each year, municipal and electric cooperative employees come together to network and learn about important topics impacting utility operations. MEUW and the Wisconsin Electric Cooperative Association (WECA), along with the Wisconsin Utility Suppliers Association (WUSA), will hold the 2023 Electric Operations Conference & Expo at the Kalahari Resort in Wisconsin Dells on Jan. 11, 12, and 13. Employees at all levels are welcome and encouraged to attend this year’s event, which features a full agenda with a great lineup of speakers and breakout sessions on a wide variety of important and relevant topics.

Again this year, three types of registration passes — labeled as Kilowatt, Megawatt, and Gigawatt — are available to accommodate those who wish to attend only part of the three-day event. Those most interested in the Expo (trade show), for example, will want to purchase a Megawatt pass, which offers access to the Wednesday Welcome Reception and Thursday’s conference sessions, meals, and the Expo. MEUW members who register by Dec. 15 can get a Megawatt pass for $175. A special pass is also available for retired public power workers who like to attend because they want to stay connected to former colleagues and have interest in keeping up with changes in the electric industry.

Full details about the event — including the complete conference agenda and information about the Apprentice Graduation Banquet — are available here.

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

New safety trainer to join MEUW Dec. 1: MEUW has hired Don Harnisch as Electric Utility Safety and Training Coordinator. Don is currently Line Superintendent for the City of New Lisbon Municipal Electric Utility, a role he has held since August 2020. He has more than 35 years of electric line experience, including more than 20 years of supervisory experience. In his new role with MEUW, Don will report to Mike Czuprynko, MEUW’s Manager of Safety Services, and provide hands-on, on-the-job training to lineworkers and other electric personnel across the state. His first day with MEUW is Dec. 1. He succeeds Mark Zielsdorf who is leaving MEUW on Dec. 9 for a new role with Sturgeon Bay Utilities.  

Legislators weigh in on PSC third-party ownership dockets: The question of whether or not solar developers can own solar generation facilities without being regulated as public utilities is one the Public Service Commission (PSC) of Wisconsin has considered multiple times over the years. Now, for the first time, the PSC has expressly decided to take up the question as the subject of possible declaratory relief in a pair of proceedings. Evidentiary hearings took place in late October and a final decision from the Commission is expected on Dec. 1. Legislative leaders recently sent a letter to PSC to share their thoughts about the PSC dockets. MEUW is actively engaged as an intervenor and will continue to provide updates to members. Details about MEUW’s involvement in the dockets is here.

Final District Dinner of the season is Thursday night: Getting members together for dinner and networking is a time-honored MEUW tradition. The eighth and final District Dinner of the year is planned for Thursday, Nov. 10, at Hi-Way Harry’s in Johnson Creek. All MEUW members are welcome to attend. The evening begins with a cash bar at 6 p.m. and dinner at 6:30, followed by a brief program. Pre-registration is required by noon on Thursday. MEUW will bill the utility for the dinner after the event. Full details are available here.

Can you help? La Farge Municipal Utilities is in search of a padmount transformer (3 phase, 150 KVA, 4160GRDY/2400 Primary, 208Y/120 Secondary) to purchase or use until they receive a new one that’s on order. If your utility can help, please contact Public Works Director Wayne Haugrud at (608) 625-2333 or by email.

Public power model showcased in latest episode of podcast series:  While the benefits of municipal ownership of electric utilities may be evident to those who work in the industry, the unique qualities that define public power are not widely known or well understood. The newest episode of “The Electric Wire” podcast from the Customers First! Coalition (CFC) aims to educate a wider audience about public power and the municipal utility model. MEUW’s Tim Heinrich and Tyler Vorpagel, along with municipal utility leaders from Manitowoc, Stoughton, and Sun Prairie, join host Kristin Gilkes for the discussion, which can be heard here.

CFC’s podcast series, which launched in 2020, seeks to help advance dialogue and education about energy issues across the state and features interviews with guests who have ties to Wisconsin. The newest episode is one of three to explore different utility operating models (investor-owned, municipal, and cooperative). To access the podcast episodes, search for The Electric Wire wherever you subscribe to podcasts, or listen at CFC’s YouTube channel. You can follow @theelectricwire on Twitter to get notifications of new episodes, pictures, and other information about the podcast series. MEUW is a founding member of CFC.

Florida utility offers thanks for mutual aid support: MEUW recently received a letter from the CEO of New Smyrna Beach Utilities in Florida, the location where Wisconsin crews provided mutual aid to help the area recover from Hurricane Ian in early October. A recap of the crews’ experience and a link to an online photo album are included in the most recent edition of MEUW’s Live Lines, available here (see page three).