Fundamentals of Utility Management Series

MEUW offers four one-day courses to explain specific management concepts that are relevant to public power utility employees and leaders, with an emphasis on detailing the “why” behind each of the discussion areas. Training is designed for municipal workers of all skill levels and backgrounds and is intended as a foundation for understanding the public power industry (especially helpful for newcomers and those who aspire to expanded responsibilities). 

Communications & Project Management
  • Understanding why communications and project management are important to operating a successful municipal utility
  • Techniques for planning your time, prioritizing your obligations, and evaluating your success
  • Ideas for providing constructive input and clear answers on projects
  • How to effectively track projects to assure nothing falls through the cracks
  • Giving clear directions that are understood the first time and listening well for meaningful feedback
  • Sorting out urgent from important
  • Understanding and communicating your department’s role in the bigger picture
  • Preparing for effective/efficient meetings
  • Creating a positive working environment
  • Knowing what information to share with whom and when

Utility Accounting & Finance
  • How to read financial statements
  • Why decisions are made from a financial perspective and what to consider
  • How to develop and track your department budget
  • How proper invoice coding/inventory tracking affects the bottom line
  • Your responsibility to ratepayers and community leaders
  • Internal control methods
  • Financial tools for assessing utility health
  • Audits and regulatory reports (PSC uniform system of accounting)
  • Understanding utility tariffs and electric and water rates (wholesale and retail)

Regulation, Compliance & Safety
  • A brief history of utility regulation and how Wisconsin differs from other states
  • Overview of utility service rules detailed in Wisconsin Admin Code Chapter 113 — on topics ranging from tree trimming and deferred payment agreements to meter testing and service extensions
  • High-level explanation of the rate-making process and PSC dockets
  • Fundamentals of labor laws and personnel management, including recruiting, hiring, and disciplining employees
  • Discussion of exempt and non-exempt employees, as well as disability, workers’ compensation and family medical leave
  • Workplace safety rules and leading practices to engage workers to develop a strong safety culture

Utility Planning & Risk Management
  • Planning strategically and thinking “outside the box” — moving beyond “that’s the way we’ve always done it”
  • Overcoming resistance to change
  • Understanding the advantages of planning and maintenance
  • Properly identifying project timelines and responsibilities
  • Wisconsin law regarding the bidding process for construction projects
  • Developing effective Requests for Proposals (RFPs) and determining an accurate “scope of work” for engineers, contractors, and employees
  • Assessing your utility’s risk areas and insurance coverage needs
  • Proactively addressing security concerns