MEUW Weekly :: September 20, 2022

Accounting and Customer Service Seminar is next week:  MEUW’s annual gathering to update utility personnel on regulatory and legislative issues that affect their utilities and provide networking opportunities to share leading practices will be held Wednesday, Sept. 28 in Mauston. This year’s program includes sessions on relevant topics from presenters with the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin and Boardman & Clark law firm, among others. For the full agenda and registration information, click here. The sign-up deadline is Sept. 23.

Municipal utilities playing active role in third-party solar petitions: In late July, the Public Service Commission (PSC) issued an Order to formally take up two separate petitions that had been filed by Vote Solar and the Midwest Renewable Energy Association. The petitioners are seeking a declaratory order that third-party leasing of solar projects does not constitute public utility activity subject to the PSC’s oversight. The Commission’s Order calls for a record to be developed and returned no later than Dec. 1, after which time the Commission will rule on the petitions.

The outcome could fundamentally alter the century-old regulatory compact, and MEUW is working collaboratively to advocate for municipal utilities, coordinating its efforts with both Great Lakes Utilities and WPPI Energy. The parties filed joint testimony last week. Those filings can be found here. Municipal utilities’ voices are also being heard through MEUW’s membership in the Customers First! Coalition, which is among the nearly 20 intervenors in these dockets. Hearings in these proceedings are currently scheduled for late October.

MEUW hosted a members-only briefing session led by Richard Heinemann of Boardman and Clark law firm, MEUW’s legal counsel, on Aug. 23. A recording of the conference call is available here (member log-in required).

Changes coming to Management Training Program in 2023: MEUW is rolling out a refreshed “Fundamentals of Utility Management” training series in the new year (replacing the Management Training Program) as well as a new three-part “Municipal Utility Leadership Program” designed to expand municipal workers’ skillsets. Information about the new offerings, including a list of session dates, is available here. You’ll also find responses to some frequently-asked questions here.

Call for Presentations” at January conference now open: The 2023 Electric Operations Conference & Expo (formerly “Joint Sups”) will feature a number of breakout sessions, and event organizers are inviting member utilities and members of the Wisconsin Utility Suppliers Association (WUSA) to submit ideas they can present to conference attendees. This will be an opportunity to showcase a product or service and share information and insights. Priority will be given to presentations that include a real-life success story featuring (and co-presented by) a Wisconsin municipal or electric cooperative utility. Full details are available here. The deadline to submit a proposal is Sept. 30.

Customer Service and Public Relations training set for Oct. 19: The focus of MEUW’s next Management Training Program is on the importance of providing exceptional customer service and public relations. The training — Session F in the six-part series — is set for Wednesday, Oct. 19, at the Glacier Canyon Resort in Wisconsin Dells. Bob Pecor, an adjunct faculty member of UW-Eau Claire’s Supervisory Management Program, is leading the daylong session to help participants more fully understand the many forces driving customer satisfaction. Full details and registration information are available here.

Staffing changes at Public Service Commission:  PSC Chair Rebecca Cameron Valcq on Monday announced changes impacting Commission staff. Martin Day, Division Administrator for the Energy Regulation and Analysis Division (DERA), intends to retire at the end of October. He will be succeeded in the Administrator role by Kristy Nieto, and Joe Fontaine will succeed Kristy in her current role as Administrator of the Division of Digital Access, Consumer, and Environmental Affairs. Joe has been Energy Advisor in DERA since the position was first created in 2019. Both Kristy and Joe will fully assume their new roles after Martin’s retirement. Also, Beth Bier, who most recently served as Deputy Secretary of the Department of Natural Resources, has joined the Commission as Administrator of the Division of Water Regulation and Utility Analysis.

Public Power Week is Oct. 2 to 8: 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.