July 2019

Live, Laugh, learn

by Bonnie Biocchi, Executive Director

One of the best parts of my job here at NEPPA is meeting the people who make Public Power work. Over the course of the last 12 months, I have met with nearly sixty utilities. The purpose of these outreach calls is to garner feedback about our current training and discern what additional training would be beneficial. We also discuss the regulatory/policy issues that are most important so that NEPPA’s advocacy efforts are focused on addressing your needs. The topic of Mutual Aid almost always comes up and is often cited as one of the top benefits of NEPPA membership. Most recently, I have been to Taunton Municipal Light Department, Middleborough Light and Gas,   Block Island Power Company, and the Villages of Solvay and Spencerport NY

Our members are intelligent, thoughtful and committed individuals who understand and tackle the complex issues of managing a utility in a changing landscape.  With that in mind, we have designed NEPPA’s upcoming Annual Conference (Aug 18 th-21 st) to help you navigate the public power issues and challenges you are facing and to offer you the most advanced thinking on a broad variety of topics. 

You will not want to miss this year’s Conference which includes a keynote presentation about the  Light Up Navajo Nation project from Keynote speaker Wally Haase, the General Manager of the Navajo Tribal Utility Authority. We’ll hear from a panel of experts about the rising cost of Transmission, and we’ll offer a Capacity Markets 101 primer. John Coyle’s Ethics presentation will offer a timely reminder about the responsibilities of working in a municipal environment. We are also delighted to welcome APPA CEO Sue Kelly who will talk about the mission of Public Power in the 21 st century. We will have sessions on developing broadband, implementing a remote grid, managing a multi-generational workforce and discovering what’s new in climate initiatives. Our Generation and our cyber resiliency/grid poretection roundtables are sure to provide valuable insight.  Meguire Whitney will be on hand to give us a legislative update and you will have a chance to weigh in on our Mutual Aid program revisions during the GM Roundtable.

As you can see, we have a lot of great education and networking planned for this year’s conference and we hope you and your colleagues will take full advantage of it.  A special highlight will be our Awards Dinner on Monday, August 19th, so please get your nominations in by July 26 th. And make sure you save time to participate in the Benevolent Fund Activities. Whether you participate in the Golf Tournament, climb Mt. Washington via the Cog Railway, or enjoy a guided nature hike, you will be supporting an important part of our mission – helping public power families in times of need. 
I look forward to seeing you there!

When, Not if: Is Your Utility Prepared for a Cybersecurity Event?
Guest Contributor: Ken Stone, Braintree Electric Light Department
On June 25, the Cyber Resilient Massachusetts Working Group (CRMWG) hosted a tabletop exercise to assist various entities in understanding conditions associated with a cybersecurity incident.  During the day-long training, three scenarios were used to evaluate how agencies, including hospitals, electric utilities, police, Massachusetts Emergency Management (MEMA), among others, would respond to a cybersecurity event. IT Manager Jim Boyle and I attended representing Braintree Electric Light Department and NEPPA to provide an electric utility’s perspective on responding to the scenarios. 

The first two scenarios revolved around ransomware and what an entity’s initial response would be to a ransomware attack. Ransomware is malicious software used to deny access to a computer system or data until a ransom is paid, typically in the form of a wire payment or Bitcoin. 

Did You Know?   95% of ransomware cases are paid out and remain unsolved.

The third scenario involved a major disaster in California that occurred simultaneously as they were being hit with thousands of robocalls, all initiated from a location in Massachusetts, which blocked their phone lines.  

How each agency would handle each scenario was discussed in detail. Based on the takeaways from the day, there are some important questions every utility should be thinking about:

  • Is your utility prepared for a cybersecurity event or ransomware attack? 
  • Do you have the correct firewalls in place to protect your data systems?  
  • Do you have a written cybersecurity plan in place? 
  • What agencies would you notify (and how) in the event of a ransomware incident?
  • Should the public be made aware of the incident?  
  • Does your utility have insurance coverage in place should you need to pay?  

The most important message was to be prepared and not become the next victim.

Upcoming Training & Events
Aug. 5 & 26; Sept. 9 & 30; Oct. 21; Nov. 4 & 18; Dec. 9
NEPPA Training Center
Littleton, MA

Aug. 6 - 9; Aug. 27 - 30; Sept. 24 - 27; Oct. 8 - 11
NEPPA Training Center
Littleton, MA

August 7, 2019
NEPPA Training Center
Littleton, MA
August 14, 2019
NEPPA Training Center
Littleton, MA

August 18 - 21, 2019
Omni Mount Washington Hotel
Bretton Woods, NH

Year I:  Aug. 27 - 30; Oct. 29 - Nov. 1
Year II:  Sept. 17 - 20; Nov. 5 - 8
Year III:  Sept. 24 - 27; Nov. 19 - 22
Year IV:  Oct. 8 - 11; Dec. 10 - 13
Apprentice Graduation: Dec. 12
NEPPA Training Center
Littleton, MA

Sept. 10 - 13; Oct. 1 - 4; Oct. 22 - 25; Nov. 19 - 22
NEPPA Training Center
Littleton, MA

September 11, 2019
NEPPA Training Center
Littleton, MA

September 12, 2019
NEPPA Training Center
Littleton, MA

Lineworkers Rodeo *
September 26-27, 2019
NEPPA Training Center
Littleton, MA
October 3, 2019
Weidmann Electrical Technology
St. Johnsbury, VT

Outage Management & Emergency Communications Roundtable *
October 23, 2019
NEPPA Training Center
Littleton, MA

October 29 - 31, 2019
NEPPA Training Center
Littleton, MA

November 6 - 7, 2019
NEPPA Training Center
Littleton, MA

Annual Membership Meeting *
December 6, 2019
Courtyard Marriott
Nashua, NH

December 16, 2019
NEPPA Training Center
Littleton, MA
www.neppa.org for more information.
@Your-Site Training
Make Up Classes: Course Dates & Topics *

NEPPA is offering the following make-up classes at the Training Center for anyone who was unable to attend their regularly scheduled @Your-Site session:
July 17, 2019 Lock Out/ Tag Out and Switching & Tagging
 * Please note that dates are subject to change. 
@Your-Site Online Training

Beginning in 2019, NEPPA is pleased to partner with J.J. Keller & Associates to provide on-demand, online training.
For more information, please visit the @Your-Site Online page at neppa.org .

Member Spotlight
Left to Right: Carmen Wilkinson, Madison Electric Works, Ellen McElroy, Hingham Municipal Light, & Maureen Lounsbury, Taunton Municipal Lighting Plant
Keeping the Lights On
Meet your local Lineworker Keith Bezon
Spencerport Municipal Electric, NY
In the News
Congratulations MMWEC!
MMWEC Retires All Bonds Related to Generating Assets; MLPs to Enjoy Debt-Free Ownership
Ludlow, MA – July 3, 2019 – The Massachusetts Municipal Wholesale Electric Company (MMWEC), the joint action agency for Massachusetts municipal utilities, has retired all the bonds related to its ownership interests in several New England generating facilities, allowing its 28 municipal utility project participants to enjoy years of debt-free ownership in their generating asset entitlements.

Welcome New Members!
Northeast Public Power Association | communications@neppa.org | www.neppa.org