MEUW Weekly :: Sept. 10, 2019

Wisconsin crews were ready, but mutual aid wasn’t needed: After Hurricane Dorian slowed and then changed course during the Labor Day weekend, the Florida utility that had earlier requested mutual aid support placed our Wisconsin crews on standby. And when the storm stayed off the Florida coast and became mostly a rain event, it became clear there would be no need to travel and help restore power. Crews from neighboring Midwest states had already begun their trek south and many returned home a few days later, without having been needed.

In total, MEUW had 14 two-person crews from more than a dozen communities ready to help out. The event was a good test of our utilities’ mutual aid preparedness and enabled MEUW to try out some of our communications tools. Mutual aid is a hallmark of the electric-utility industry, and it was especially gratifying to see public power communities rallying to support one another. We appreciate all of the effort that went in to organizing for a response that ended up not being needed — and we predict there will be a next time!

undefinedPublic Power Week right around the corner: Once a year, the public power industry takes a week to toot its own horn — Public Power Week 2019 is set for Oct. 6 to 12.

Led by the American Public Power Association (APPA), Public Power Week is a national celebration that recognizes the contributions of community-owned electric utilities while seeking to educate customers nationwide about the distinct advantages that public power offers.

We encourage all member utilities to use Public Power Week to remind your customers that they are part of something special. MEUW has prepared a sample news release you can make available to your local newspaper and radio stations. You can find it here, along with a link to other resources available from APPA. 

In addition, we always like to do a wrap up of Public Power Week festivities in MEUW’s Live Lines, so please be sure to submit photos and information about how your community marked the occasion this year. You can send the info directly

Results of Wage & Benefits Survey distributed — again: Individuals who submitted data on behalf of their utility for MEUW’s annual Wage & Benefits Survey should have received an email with the results last week. All of the data submitted was compiled in an updated spreadsheet that was distributed on Sept. 5. Only the utilities that provided information for the survey received a copy of the results, which were sent to the email address of the person who submitted the data. A total of 62 utilities responded this year, compared to 55 in 2018. Thanks to all those who submitted information to make this valuable tool even more helpful to MEUW members.

Thursday is last chance to sign up for Rubber Gloving Hotline School: MEUW’s Electric Utility Safety and Training Coordinator Randy Larson is leading a two-day, hands-on training session next week, offering simulations of hotline field operations and safety procedures next month. The seminar is designed for all lineworkers, regardless of their years of experience, and will include simulations related to 5KV, 12KV, and 25KV systems.

The program will be held Sept. 17 and 18 at the Northeast Energy Education Center in Green Bay. The cost is $285 for MEUW members. To learn more about the training and to register, click here. The registration deadline is noon on Thursday, Sept. 12.

Share information about how your utility handles accounting and customer service: Every member utility is being asked to complete a census survey to share insights about their accounting and customer service practices. The survey seeks to gather information about systems and vendors used by municipal electric utilities as well as data about deposits and disconnection thresholds, credit card fees, and the like. The results will be compiled and shared at the Accounting and Customer Service Seminar in September. The last time MEUW gathered this information was in 2013. To share insights about your utility’s practices, please complete the survey here.

District Dinners have a new name: Registration is now open for the seven “Meet & Eat” gatherings that will take place across the state in October and November. These annual get-togethers are a great opportunity to visit with your public power colleagues, enjoy a meal and get some updates on what’s happening with MEUW. Based on member feedback, we know that dinner isn’t always the most convenient time for a member get-together, so we’re adding a breakfast and lunchtime option to this year’s schedule for what used to be known as District Dinners. The complete schedule is now available on MEUW’s Website.

Here’s a list of upcoming training events and conferences MEUW members may be interested in attending. Registration details are available by clicking on the event date.

  • Annual Accounting and Customer Service Seminar — Sept. 26, Wisconsin Dells
  • Wisconsin Energy Providers Conference — Sept. 30 and Oct. 1, Wisconsin Dells
  • Wisconsin Public Utility Institute’s “Energy Utility Basics” Oct. 7-11, Madison
  • Management Training Program (Session C) Oct. 16, Marshfield
  • MEUW’s Cybersecurity Summit Oct. 30, Wisconsin Dells
  • National Electrical Safety Code Seminar — Nov. 12-13, Plymouth
  • MEUW/WECA Electric Operations Conference & Expo — Jan. 15-17, 2020, Wisconsin Dells
  • Lineworker “U” — Feb. 3-5, 2020, Eau Claire
  • Management Training Program (Session D) Feb. 26, 2020, Marshfield
  • Watt Hour Meter Workshop — March 16-19, 2020, Green Bay

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