Winter Conference focuses on linemen, superintendents

February 1, 2016

It wouldn’t be December in South Dakota without a little cold weather and wind, but that didn’t stop us from hosting our annual Winter Conference. This conference is designed for electric superintendents and linemen of our customer communities. Our goal is to provide education on topics important to them as well as show appreciation for the hard work they do every day.

Jim Enga of Omni-Pro Software speaks to the Winter Conference attendees about load management software.

Jim Enga of Omni-Pro Software provided an overview of the load management system offered by his company. Heartland Director of Power Supply Adam Graff also chimed in on how an effective load management system can benefit a utility by reducing demand during peak times. As a reminder, customers can utilize Heartland’s HELP Fund with low-interest financing to implement a system.

Heartland was excited to welcome two special guests to the conference – Bill Drummond, executive director of Mid-West Electric Consumers Association, and Mark Gabriel, administrator and CEO of the Western Area Power Administration. Drummond gave an overview of the benefits Mid-West provides to members, including all Heartland customers with a WAPA allocation. Mid-West promotes and protects the interests of federal power customers and their consumers within the Missouri River Basin.

Gabriel provided insight on WAPA’s three lines of business – federal hydropower, transmission system and service, and transmission infrastructure program. He also talked about their budget emphasis on physical and cyber security as threats against the system continue to increase. Gabriel also mentioned WAPA is planning to conduct a customer survey and he encouraged participation in order for them to measure feedback and establish a baseline as customer partnership is critical to their operation.

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Mark Gabriel of Western Area Power Administration discusses WAPA operations.

Linemen and electric superintendents help make utilities tick. They are the ones dedicated to the reliability of the system, who brave the harsh weather to turn the lights on, and who protect public safety. We hope those who attended the Winter Conference not only found value in the information presented, but also enjoyed the day networking with their peers from other utilities and organizations.

On a related note, on April 1st and 2nd, public power lineworkers will come together from all over the United States in Shakopee, Minnesota for APPA’s Public Power Lineworkers Rodeo to demonstrate their skill and knowledge in the craft of linework. Journeyman and apprentice lineworkers can compete for professional recognition, attend training courses and practice essential skills in a safe environment. Attendees will also have a unique opportunity to connect with and learn from the nationwide community of lineworker professionals. For more information and to register, visit the APPA website.


Featured picture above: Bill Drummond of Mid-West Electric Consumers Association speaks to the group.