June 2021

By Bonnie Biocchi, Executive Director

Last week we held one of my favorite events - the Apprentice Lineworker Rodeo. Having cancelled last year's event (and just about every other event!) due to the Pandemic, it felt even more special this year. With 126 students competing in 10 categories, it was a full-on, super charged two days. With heat soaring into the 90’s on the first day, it became even more challenging, and I was impressed with both the tenacity and the “can do” spirit our students exhibited.

Congratulations to overall first place winner Jack Austin of Princeton Municipal Light, who also won first place in the Alley-Arm Insulator Change Out with an amazing time of 7 minutes, 12 seconds! And congratulations to Douglas Fish, Wolfeboro Municipal Electric, who took home the honor of overall second place winner. Kudos also to Patrick Sikora from Morrisville Electric who earned the distinction of overall third place winner. All three students were from our Yr. 2 Apprentice Class.

The Apprentice Rodeo is an energizing event because it highlights the results of months of training for our students. Week after week, year after year, we strive to provide our students with the best possible training in the industry. Watching the students use their acquired skills together on the training field is inspiring. Great credit goes to our trainers for instilling the importance of safety as well as technical knowledge in our students.

Linework is certainly not for the faint-hearted.  A career as a lineworker takes dedication, commitment, intelligence and physical stamina. Currently public power is experiencing a shortage of trained individuals in this field. These are well-paying jobs and lineworkers are respected in their communities. Judging by the camaraderie of last week’s event, I would say that most lineworkers love the work they do.  If you know someone who might be interested in a career in this field, please let us know. We would love to see them participating in our 2022 Apprentice Rodeo!

Upcoming Training & Events
It's time again to honor our best!
The Northeast Public Power Association will be holding elections to the Board at our 2021 NEPPA Annual Business Meeting on Monday, August 23, 2021 (3:45 pm) at The Westin Portland Harborview Hotel, anyone interested in seeking a nomination to the NEPPA Board you should reach out to the Executive Director, Bonnie Biocchi or the Chair of the Nominating Committee Michael Cloutier.
Registration Opening Soon
At NEPPA, we are committed to helping our members pursue their goals for continuing education.  

NEPPA offers Continuing Education and Test Prep classes for hoisting:

  • June 15, 2021 - Hoisting 1B-1D: hoisting machines, i.e., cranes and bucket trucks

  • June 16, 2021 - Hoisting 2A-2C: digging machines, i.e., excavators and backhoes

NEPPA has partnered with Dale Carnegie Training to bring their high caliber supervisory and leadership training in-house for the Supervisory Skills Program. This program is designed to equip existing and emerging leaders with the tangible skills to better manage themselves, their teams, and their organization.
The live, instructor-led, virtual program will be presented in four half-day sessions being held June 16 & 17 and June 23 & 24 from 8am – noon each day. Participants begin the Program gaining a deeper understanding of themselves and how to communicate and lead throughout an organization. The second week of the Program is dedicated to developing actionable skills to better perform and use their skills for better decision-making and improved performance.

NEPPA is pleased to offer a completely redesigned Advanced Lineworker Program which is held 3-days/week for 4 weeks/year. Advanced Lineworker is designed to equip participants with the knowledge, skills and resources necessary to build, maintain, troubleshoot and repair a distribution system. Upon successful completion of the Program, students are awarded a Certificate of Completion.

Session I: August 10-12, 2021
Session II: September 14-16, 2021
Session II: October 19-21, 2021
Session IV: November 2-4, 2021
Click here for more information
June 16; Sept 8; Dec 8, 2021

June 16-17, June 23-24, 2021
August 10, 2021
NEPPA Training CenteLittleton, MA

Advanced Lineworker Program
Aug. 10-12; Sept. 14-16; Oct. 19-21; Nov. 2-4, 2021
NEPPA Training Center
Littleton, MA

August 22 - 25, 2021
Westin Portland Harborview
Portland, ME

Sept. 14 - 17; Sept. 28 - Oct. 1; Oct. 19 - 22;
Nov. 16 - 19, 2021
NEPPA Training Center
Littleton, MA

September 21, 2021
8:30 am (EST)

September 21-23, 2021
Westford Regency & NEPPA Training Center
Westford, MA

September 22, 2021
8:30 am (EST)

October 19, 2021
8:30 am (EST)

October 20, 2021
8:30 am (EST)

November 8 - 10, 2021
NEPPA Training Center
Littleton, MA

November 23, 2021
8:30 am (EST)
November 30, 2021
8:30 am (EST)
December 14, 2021
8:30 am (EST)
December 15, 2021
8:30 am (EST)

*Please contact communications@neppa.org to be notified as soon as registration opens.

FERC: ISO-NE CEO Announces Plans to Eliminate MOPR...
Cybersecurity: Ransomware Hack Disrupts Major Pipeline, Spurs Lawmaker Response, President Biden Signs EO Aimed at Shoring Up Federal Cybersecurity...

Transition: Senate EPW Holds Confirmation Hearing for DOI, EPA Nominees...
In the News
Rhode Island’s Pascoag Utility District turns to batteries to avoid a transmission upgrade
The Pascoag Utility District in Rhode Island plans to use an energy storage project as an alternative to upgrading transmission lines.
The 3-megawatt (MW), 9-megawatt hour (MWh) lithium-ion battery array is being developed by Agilitas Energy, which is beginning the pre-construction phase of the project. The battery system is expected to enter service in the second quarter of 2022.

MBTA Awarded the New England Environmental Business Council’s Climate Change Project of the Year
BOSTON, MA June 11, 2021 – The MBTA received the prestigious 2021 New England Environmental Business Council (EBC) Award for Climate Change Project of the Year at their virtual awards program yesterday, recognizing its efforts to purchase renewable energy and reduce its carbon footprint. The MBTA worked with its power supply advisor Energy New England and counsel KP Law to 

RMLD Honors Local High School Students Following Art Contest
Reading, MA – On May 12, 2021, the Reading Municipal Light Department (RMLD) honored the participants and winners of its fourth annual public power themed High School Art Contest at a virtual awards ceremony. General Manager Coleen O’Brien gave a brief description of the contest objectives as well as an overview of the RMLD STEM focused career opportunities that an electric utility can offer. Commissioners Philip Pacino and John Stempeck presented the awards.

Privatization in the Power Sector
At NEPPA, we believe the public power model is both cost effective and reliable for the consumer. Bernhard Capital Partners Management LP is a private equity firm that has approached a number of public power communities in the Southeastern United States with a proposal to enter into financial/operational agreements with municipal electric, water and wastewater systems. Please see the issue brief from APPA that describes Bernhard’s approach and offers some food for thought. The issue brief provides context and background on these activities as well as urging comprehensive analyses when communities are approached. Bernhard has approached one of our systems expressing interest in purchasing their fiber business, and we anticipate this outreach will continue and want you to have this information in the event that you are contacted by Bernhard.

Congratulations to Elizabeth Whitney and her husband on the birth of their son. Sawyer David Whitney was born on June 10th, weighing in at 6lbs. 11 oz. Both Mom and baby are doing well!
Best wishes to Sean Hamilton on his recent retirement from Sterling Municipal Light Department (SMLD) after 42 years of service. Sean served as the Manager at SMLD since 2010 and served on the NEPPA Board of Directors and Executive Committee for many years.
Congratulations to Darren Borge recently appointed to General Manager at Sterling Municipal Light Department. Darren was previously the Assistant General Manager at SMLD.
Congratulations and best wishes to Kurt Demmer, recently appointed to General Manager at Merrimac Municipal Light Department. Kurt previously served at the New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission as Senior Electric Utility Regulatory Analyst. Kurt has also held leadership positions at Liberty Utilities and National Grid.
Updates from the APPA monthly
 Policy Makers Council
Thank you to Bob Holland of Shrewsbury Electric and Cable Operations, who shared some updates from APPA Policy Makers Council

On May 12, President Biden signed an Executive Order (EO) on Improving the Nation’s Cybersecurity that focuses on securing federal networks and requires federal contractors to report cyber incidents to the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency. It also establishes a new government entity modeled after the National Transportation Safety Review Board to review major breaches and will require software that the government buys to meet a baseline set of security standards. 

Joint Action Agency
FERC Grants Waiver of Filing Requirements for Participation in ISO-NE FCA 16
In a showing of, perhaps, compassion by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“Commission”), the Connecticut Municipal Electric Energy Cooperative the Massachusetts Municipal Wholesale Electric Company, Pascoag Utility District, and Vermont Department of 

SHELD, HMLD Utilize MMWEC Pooled Loan Program for Department Improvements
South Hadley Electric Light Department (SHELD) and Holden Municipal Light Department (HMLD) are both taking advantage of MMWEC’s Pooled Loan Program to finance improvement projects for the departments and their customers

MMWEC, New Hampshire Electric Co-Op Respond to ISO New England’s Plan that will Cost Ratepayers

Ludlow, MA -- May 25, 2021 -- The Massachusetts Municipal Wholesale Electric Company (MMWEC), the state’s joint action agency for non-profit municipal utilities is expressing its continued opposition to an ISO New England (ISO-NE) proposal it says will be costly to consumers and hinder the New England states’ efforts to build offshore wind projects.

MMWEC Teams Up with UMass Energy Transition Institute on Innovative Grid Design

Ludlow, MA - June 9, 2021 - The UMass Energy Transition Institute (ETI) has been awarded a grant from the American Public Power Association (APPA) to launch Project Groundwork, a research initiative to explore innovative electric distribution solutions to enhance grid resilience and support an equitable energy transition.

Summer Safety Tips
Summer Safety Tips & Reminders on Heat Related illnesses & Proper Hydration
By Mike Pazzanese-Trainer, CUSP-Certified Utility Safety Professional, NEPPA

With summer fast approaching, we have already seen several days at 90⁰ and above. However, it does not have to be a heat wave to experience these conditions. Please be aware of the warning signs below and take appropriate actions.

Heat Stress-symptoms include excessive sweating, painful spasms, tiny red bumps on the skin, dizziness, weakness, or excessive irritability. To treat mild heat stress, rest in a cool shaded area, drink water, and keep the skin clean and dry.

Heat Exhaustion-shows itself in excessive sweating, thirst, fatigue, and headache. A person with moderate heat exhaustion may also experience nausea, dizziness, a rapid and weak pulse, and cold, pale, or flushed skin. To treat, place a cool compress on forehead/neck. Drink water and rest in a cool shady area.

Heat Stroke-is detected by a lack of sweating, deep and rapid breathing, a rapid and weak pulse, or hot, dry, and flushed skin. Other symptoms of heat stroke include confusion, headache, nausea, dizziness, and convulsions or loss of consciousness. If you believe you or a colleague are suffering from heat stroke, call 911 immediately.

Prevent Dehydration & Heat-Related Illness:
  • Drink water every 15 minutes, even if you are not thirsty
  • Avoid drinking alcohol & caffeine because both can make your body more dehydrated
  • Consume fruit and vegetables, they also add fluid to your body
  • Rest in the shade to cool down and recover from extreme heat.
  • Learn the signs of heat illness and what to do in an emergency
  • Plan accordingly if you plan to work outdoors
Have a safe and healthy summer from all of us at NEPPA!
Northeast Public Power Association | communications@neppa.org | www.neppa.org