The last week of August included a very clear safety focus for Thumb Electric Cooperative (TEC). The co-op completed a Rural Electric Safety Achievement Program (RESAP) audit and provided life-saving Pole Top and Bucket Rescue Training for its operations employees.
“I’m proud of how they’re living up to the RESAP goal of continuous improvement,” said MECA Safety Director, Joe McElroy, commending TEC leadership and staff for their efforts.
Dallas Braun, General Manager at TEC, has positive things to say about the co-op’s involvement with the RESAP program, too. “RESAP is a great program that provides an ‘outside-looking-in’ perspective of the operation of our electric system,” he said. “The process results in a framework to prioritize and plan for continuous safety improvements.”
“There is no doubt this program has had a direct impact on positive safety improvements made at TEC over the past three years,” says Braun. “I expect the same results going forward. We are very fortunate to have MECA providing this program in Michigan.”
On Monday, United States Congressman Jack Bergman visited Wolverine Power Cooperative’s state-of-the-art Alpine Power Plant to tour the facility and learn about the plant’s vital role for Wolverine’s members and Northern Michigan’s grid reliability.
The Alpine Power Plant natural gas facility, completed in 2016, provides more than 400 MW of peaking generation, as well as essential transmission support, for Wolverine’s members and Northern Michigan’s electric grid.
In addition to touring the facility, the Congressman was interested in discussing and learning more about renewable energy, the future of generation, battery storage, net metering, energy markets, as well as high energy prices and lack of adequate transmission in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.
As a former pilot, the Congressman also had a keen interest in the operation of the plant’s turbines—which are very similar to jet engines.
Congressman Bergman represents constituents in Michigan’s 1st Congressional district, which is Michigan’s largest—encompassing the entire Upper Peninsula and 16 counties in the northern Lower Peninsula. Congressman Bergman represents more cooperative members than any other Michigan congressman, including members of Great Lakes Energy, Presque Isle Electric & Gas, Cherryland Electric Cooperative, Alger Delta Cooperative Electric Association, Ontonagon REA, and Cloverland Electric Cooperative.
Wolverine is grateful for the opportunity to host Congressman Bergman, and for his interest in learning more about Michigan’s electric cooperatives.
Alger Delta Cooperative Electric Association (Alger Delta) celebrates its 80th anniversary this year.
Alger Delta Electric is a proud member of WPPI Energy, a not-for-profit wholesale energy provider and joint action agency. The co-op’s milestone anniversary was recognized at an awards luncheon during WPPI Energy’s annual meeting in September. Alger Delta’s CEO Tom Harrell, Directors Mike Lawless (District 3, Grand Marais) and Darryl Small (District 1, Big Bay) accepted a token of esteem on behalf of the co-op.
“I’d like to extend my congratulations and appreciation to Alger Delta for 80 years of service,” said Mike Peters, president and CEO of WPPI Energy.
Alger Delta was founded in 1937 and is one of about 900 not-for-profit electric co-ops in the U.S. It now serves approximately 10,000 members in six counties in the central Upper Peninsula.
Over the years, the co-op has contributed to the quality of life in the central Upper Peninsula by providing affordable and reliable electric service to homes, businesses and recreational properties. Alger Delta also supports charities and organizations that provide service and critical support to its members throughout its service territory including the YMCA, the Salvation Army, Honor Flight, Toys-for-Tots, sports programs, food pantries and others.
“Anniversaries are a great time to reflect both on what has brought us to this point and where we want to go in the future,” said Harrell.
When Wolverine Power Cooperative (Wolverine) and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 876 (IBEW Local 876) announced a partnership in May to continue utility linemen training in the state of Michigan, their partnership marked the beginning of the new Joint Michigan Apprentice Program (JMAP). The program’s inaugural class began in September, welcoming 61 apprentices from 28 Michigan utilities.
The new program features smaller, segmented classroom, training labs, and field training at a single location in Northern Michigan—Wolverine Power Cooperative’s Training Center in Lake City, Mich., located near Wolverine’s headquarters in Cadillac, Mich. In addition, Wolverine partnered with the Northwest Lineman College (NLC), an industry-leading educational institution that provides pre-apprentice, apprentice and journey-level training, to provide related instruction.
To construct the program’s climbing yard in time for classes, 32 workers from five cooperatives (Cherryland Electric Cooperative, Great Lakes Energy, HomeWorks Tri-County Electric Cooperative, Presque Isle Electric & Gas Co-op, Wolverine Power Cooperative) worked diligently to complete the 73-pole climbing yard in just eight days—two days less than initially planned and four times less than a project of this scale typically takes to complete.
The program has received positive initial feedback from instructors and apprentices alike, noting a well-run program and facility, knowledgeable instructors, and an appreciation for classroom and field training to be conducted at a single site.
With the first session of training successfully completed, Wolverine, IBEW Local 876, and NLC are all excited for the future success of JMAP and the next generation of lineworkers it will shape.
Enrollment for JMAP is now open for the next session of classes to be held in Spring 2018. Michigan utilities interested in participating can learn more by visiting www.MichiganApprentices.com.