Underground School

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Underground School

Underground School

Date: May 15-18, 2018
  • Day 1: 12:00 pm - 7:00 pm
  • Day 2: 8:30 am - 4:00 pm
  • Day 3: 8:30 am - 5:00 pm
  • Day 4: 8:30 am - 12:00 pm
Location: MMUA Training Center, 1004 Michigan Road, Marshall, MN
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Minnesota Municipal Utilities Association and our partners—Minnesota Rural Electric Association (MREA) and American Public Power Association (APPA)—are pleased to bring you the 2018 Underground School.

The Underground School offers a hands-on training track with a variety of training sessions and an advanced technical course on project management and underground distribution design. In addition to top-notch instructors, we strive to keep class sizes small to maximize participation and learning. Whether you are a seasoned Journeyman looking to stay current or are an Apprentice just starting out, this school offers something for everyone. 

NEW THIS YEAR – Students will rotate through six different 2-hour training sessions (exception is those registered for Advanced Class). This creates an opportunity for participants to take advantage of all hands-on training sessions, learn about a variety of topics and hone practical skills for efficiency and safety.

NOTE: Members of MREA need to register on their site directly.

What You Will Learn 


The General Sessions are held on the first and last day of the School. Participants must attend these sessions to receive full credit for course hours.

Tuesday, May 15

Todd Heitkamp, National Weather Service
This session is designed to educate individuals on typical weather threats in this region. Severe thunderstorms, tornadoes, straight line winds, floods, and winter storms cause millions of dollars in damage and can change lives forever. For our safety and the safety of those around us, it’s critical that we’re able to recognize potential severe weather and to have a plan for if/when it strikes.

Topics to be covered include:

  • Radar basics
  • Fundamentals of storm structure
  • Types of thunderstorms
  • Severe weather hazards
  • Severe weather safety

Friday, May 18

Gopher State One Call
Keven Maxa, Austin Utilities
As utility workers, it's extremely important to understand the Gopher State One Call process and guidelines. This session will cover Gopher State history, planning for excavation, color coding, excavation safety, locating and more!


CLASS OPTIONS: Multi-Session Class or Advanced Class


Registrants will rotate through all six 2-hour classes (does not include Advanced Class). These classes are intended for lineworkers of all experience levels.

Session 1: Troubleshooting Issues on Secondary and Primary
This class is designed to give students an insight of megging both primary and secondary wire. Because secondary faults are a never-ending issue, troubleshooting is of utmost importance. Instructors will cover a variety of different ways of restoring power. Participants will be taught the need for an add-a-phase and how to properly install one, as well as hooking up a meter socket with armored cable. After service has been restored, individuals will work on finding the fault.

Session 2: Table-top Splicing and Terminations
For utilities looking for a reliable alternative to compression connections, 3M offers the shearbolt connectors, QCI Series. 3M’s Jim Stephens, will offer useful tips as he instructs on the proper technique for terminating a splice. Attendees will also participate in terminating and splicing to ensure understanding and to reinforce comprehension.

Session 3: Grounding and Use of Phasing Sticks
Everyone understands that working on lines or equipment as deenergized requires the use of grounds. This class offers instruction on the proper way of grounding lines and equipment. Students will be taught the proper way to utilize phasing sticks in the process of grounding, as well as checking rotation.

Session 4: Equipment Operation
Earth moving equipment plays a vital role in the utility industry. Students will have an opportunity to learn the safe and proper way to operate different types of equipment from various vendors, which may include trenchers, mini-excavator, backhoe, Skid steer.

Session 5: Understanding Current Safety Culture
This class will discuss the current trends in safety including barricading/grounding, Arc Rated FR, PPE, Fall Protection, and documented job site briefings among others. We will utilize the APPA Safety Manual, OSHA and NFPA regulations for the basis of discussion and focus on Best Practices utilized at MMUA/MREA member utilities.

Session 6: Transformer Connections and Rotation
With the different voltages that are available, it’s crucial that a lineman knows what type of transformer bank will be needed to best fulfill the customer’s needs. This class in designed to offer participants hands-on training with transformer connections. Participants will learn about and build wye and delta banks, as well as open wye and open delta banks.



Project Management
This two-day session will be packed with intense training and will move quickly to cover all the information listed. This class is designed for seasoned lineworkers, engineers just entering the lineworker field, and staking personnel.

Project management of underground distribution is complex and a capital extensive venture. Understanding proper system layout and design is essential to system reliability, operability, and economic return on utility investments. The proper long term and strategic planning of electrical distribution system is vital for efficiency and operations. During this course we will review fundamental principles of proper underground design and all aspects of proper planning.

Topics will include:

  • Financial Consideration of System Expansion
  • Can we afford it? How do we pay for it?
  • Can we handle the project in-house?
  • Depreciation—What it is and why it is important
  • Determining Short Term & Long-Term Needs of the Electrical System
  • Substation Expansion & Planning
  • Feeder Capacity, Design & Considerations
  • Switchgear & Protective Schemes, Devices & Considerations
  • Reliability System
  • Maintenance & Future Expansion Considerations
  • Proper Transformer Sizing
  • Commercial, Residential Construction
  • Transformer Evaluation by Loss Evaluation Methods

Lineworker Rodeo Mystery Event

This mystery event is open to all classes of lineworker, from first-year apprentice to the advanced journeyman. This is a fun event which demonstrates safe working practices and a little speed. A trophy will be awarded to the person with the best time and fewest infractions.

Optional Evening Activities

Tuesday, May 15

Pizza Reception
The reception is a great venue for reconnecting with old friends and meeting new people, while enjoying free pizza!

Wednesday, May 16

Sporting Clay Shoot or Golf
At participant’s expense, we will arrange a fun evening of golf at one of the local golf courses in the Marshall area or an evening of sporting clays at Shooter’s Gun Club.


Tuesday, May 15

12:00 pm  Registration
1:00 pm  Welcome
1:15 pm  SKYWARN
2:30 pm  Rodeo Round-up
5:00 pm  Pizza Reception at The Gambler

Wednesday, May 16

8:30 am  Multi-Session Class / Advanced Class
10:45 am  Multi-Session Class (rotate) / Advanced Class (continued)
11:45 am  Lunch Served
12:30 pm  Multi-Session Class / Advanced Class (continued)
1:45 pm  Multi-Session Class (rotate) / Advanced Class (continued)
4:00 pm Wrap-up
5:00 pm  Optional activities (at participant's expense):

  • Golf at Savanna Oaks Golf Course
  • Sporting Clay at Shooters

Thursday, May 17

8:30 am  Multi-Session Class / Advanced Class
10:45 am  Multi-Session Class (rotate) / Advanced Class (continued)
11:45 am  Lunch Served
12:30 pm  Multi-Session Class / Advanced Class (continued)
1:45 pm  Multi-Session Class (rotate) / Advanced Class (continued)
4:00 pm  Lineworker Rodeo Mystery Event

Friday, May 18

8:30 am  Gopher State One Call
12:00 pm  Wrap-up

Schedule subject to change.


Participants earn hours for attendance and a certificate of achievement will be available online. Participants should watch for an email notification from MMUA.

Hotel / Motel Information - Marshall, MN

For a map of hotels in Marshall, click HERE. The AmericInn and Ramada have special pricing. Just ask for MMUA's reduced rate.

Registration Fee

$465 per student for members; $690 per student for non-members. All fees increase $50 on April 13.
Fee includes: workshop tuition, materials, pizza reception, two lunches, refreshment breaks and a certificate of achievement.

Deadline to register is April 23, 2018.


A refund will be given on advance registrations if the MMUA office is notified by 4:30 pm on April 24, 2018. A cancellation fee of $30 per person will be charged. No refunds after April 24, 2018.


By registering for this event I/we authorize Minnesota Municipal Utilities Association (MMUA) to photograph me at this event and use such photographs in MMUA marketing materials (both electronic and print). I/we understand that I/we will not be paid for giving this consent. 


If you have questions about the program and its content, contact Cody Raveling by email craveling@mmua.org or phone 507.380.9578.

If you have questions or problems with registration or reservations, contact Theresa Neddermeyer by email tneddermeyer@mmua.org or phone 763.551.1230.

A printable version of the Underground School brochure is also available.


Thank You, Annual Sponsors

View all Annual Sponsors

Video Captures 2016 Public Power Lineworkers Rodeo

We now have a 4-minute rodeo recap video of the 2016 Public Power Lineworkers Rodeo, live on the MMUA YouTube channel.  It features great footage and interviews with a number of key players in the event.  The April 2 event was hosted by Shakopee Public Utilities and MMUA, and brought together lineworkers from across the country. Watch this video and enjoy reliving that amazing day.  Be sure to bundle up before you click!