MEUW Weekly :: Sept. 8, 2020

Sample letters can help with outreach ahead of tax roll: The timing of the tax-roll process is approaching. While every utility handles the tax roll a little differently, this year’s process is sure to get attention because of large past-due balances. One MEUW member is taking proactive steps to engage landlords who are often caught between the utility and tenants who are past due. New Holstein Utilities (NHU) has created three letter templates to make sure landlords, property owners and tenants all understand how the utility is planning to deal with past-due balances. In the spirit of helping fellow municipal utilities, NHU is making the letters available to enable others to take a similar approach. The letters are available in Word format so they can easily be modified and customized to meet the unique approach other utilities are using. The letters are here.

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

Payroll tax deferral guidance clarified: In an Executive Memorandum issued in early August, President Donald Trump authorized employers to defer withholding and payment of the employee’s portion of the Social Security tax for employees whose wages are below a certain amount. The U.S. Department of the Treasury and Internal Revenue Service recently issued guidance to clarify the process and timing. Boardman & Clark is providing more details to help employers understand their responsibility. You can read about it here.

Thursday is deadline for latest PSC data request: As part of the Public Service Commission’s Order related to the moratorium on residential disconnects, utilities are required to supply monthly information related to credit and collection protocols, including information on: changes to reported disconnection plans, disconnection notices, arrears balances and customers in arrears, deferred payment agreements (DPAs) and terms, and other collection activities such as deposits. To streamline the reporting process, PSC staff have created an online survey. Responses for the reporting period from Aug. 1 to Aug. 31 are due by 4 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 10. The survey form is available here. The Commissioners are expected to review the latest data and discuss the disconnect moratorium at their Sept. 17 meeting.

Registration is now open for Accounting and Customer Service Seminar: MEUW is hosting its annual gathering for municipal accounting and customer service personnel on Tuesday, Sept. 22. This year’s seminar will be held virtually to ensure the safety of attendees. As always, the program includes a presentation and Q-&-A with staff at the Public Service Commission. There will also be a roundtable discussion about the coronavirus response, a review of meter-to-cash processes, and other presentations. The full agenda and registration details are available here.

Public Power Week right around the corner: Once a year, the public power industry takes a week to toot its own horn — Public Power Week 2020 is set for Oct. 4 to 10.

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.

Updated Statistical Data now available:  Wisconsin’s 81 municipal electric utilities served nearly 295,000 customers, had $681 million in revenues and paid their municipalities more than $23.5 million in lieu of taxes last year. Those are a few highlights from the updated statistical data MEUW has compiled based on recent reporting to the Public Service Commission. You can access the complete data sheet here. If you discover any problem with the information listed for your utility, please contact Mallory Conradt at (608) 478-2528.