Underground School

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Underground School

Underground School

Date: May 7-10, 2024
  • Day 1: May 7, 2024 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm
  • Day 2: May 8, 2024 8:30 am - 4:00 pm
  • Day 3: May 9, 2024 8:30 am - 5:00 pm
  • Day 4: May 10, 2024 8:30 am - 12:00 pm
Location: MMUA Training Center, 1004 Michigan Road, Marshall, MN
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Minnesota Municipal Utilities Association, along with our partners at Minnesota Rural Electric Association (MREA), is pleased to offer the 2024 Underground School.

The Underground School features a hands-on training where participants will rotate through six different sessions, covering a variety of topics and activities to develop new skills and enrich proficiency.

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

What you will learn 

General session details

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 7

Worksite traffic control
Worksite traffic control involves the implementation of measures to manage and regulate the flow of traffic in any area where work activities may impact the normal flow of vehicles. The primary goals of worksite traffic control are to ensure the safety of both workers and the public, minimize traffic congestion, and maintain the efficient movement of vehicles. This may include the use of temporary signage, signals, barriers, and designated traffice lanes to guide drivers safety through or around the work area. Worksite traffice control plans are typically developed in compliance with local regulations and guidelines to address specific safety and traffic management requirements.

Friday, May 10

Distributed energy resources safety
The goal of this session is to provide attendees with information on how to identify distributed energy resources (DERs) and to work safely around them. With the rise of interconnected solar, wind, battery, and even electric vehicle chargers, it is important to understand the risks to our distribution systems. Because DERs can be connected directly to our systems, they can affect our utility from a safety and an operational standpoint.

This session will cover:

  • How to identify a DER site, even if unseen
  • Safety precautions to take while in poximity to a DER site
  • How a DER can affect first responders in emergency situations
  • Effects of anti-islanding technology on safety
  • How DER can impact other utility equipment
  • Tools and resources available to a utility for a non-compliant DER

Hands-on training session details

Session #1 - Equipotential grounding
Proper testing and grounding is one of the single most important safeguards we have in our industry. It establishes a safe work zone where all conductors are at the same potential. It ensures that even if a circuit becomes energized the lineworker is still protected.

This session will cover:

  • Changes made to the APPA Safety Manual (17th edition) regarding grounding underground cables
  • The science behind why equipotential grounding is the safest way to ground
  • Hands-on equipotential grounding in various scenarios.

Session #2 - Cable pulling
This session will focus on the proper procedures for pulling wire. Crews will pull in 1/0 wire using state of the art pulling equipment. Students will be instructed on preparing the site on which the work will take place and identifying the hazards that may be in the area. This class will focus on safety and proper procedures to increase confidence and expand knowledge of the tasks at hand. 

Session #3 - Directional drill operations
In this session, participants will gain hands-on experience operating a directional drill as well as the equipment needed to complete a project. Cable will be pulled back to help with completing a project on the training field. Whether you have experience with a directional drill or not, this class will be beneficial.

Session #4 - Troubleshooting and fault-finding primary cable
In this session, students will be taught how to isolate and restore power on underground (URD) primary systems. Proper use of phasing sticks with DC hi-pot adapters, fault indicators, and thumpers will be demonstrated to help students understand and address the issues related to URD faults.

Session #5 - Vehicle vs junction accident scenario
When a vehicle strikes any piece of electrical equipment it can pose a variety of threats and challenges. This session will cover the necessary steps to take from start to finish--from securing the scene to restoring power to the affected area.

Session #6 - 600-amp terminations
This session will help participants gain important knowledge in the process of terminating 500 MCM aluminum wire. Terminations for a riser and a PMH switch will be taught. Proper tool selection and grounding will also be covered.


Tuesday, May 7

12:00 pm  Registration/check in
1:00 pm  Welcome
1:15 pm General session: worksite traffic control
4:00 pm  Wrap-up

Wednesday, May 8

8:30 am  Hands-on training sessions
11:45 am  Lunch
12:30 pm  Hands-on training sessions
4:00 pm  Wrap-up
5:00 pm  Optional activities (at participant's expense):

  • Golf
  • Sporting Clays
  • Archery

Thursday, May 9

8:30 am  Hands-on training sessions
11:45 am  Lunch
12:30 pm  Hands-on training session
4:00 pm Lineworker mystery event

Friday, May 10

8:30 am  General session: distributed energy resources (DERs)
12:00 pm  Wrap-up

*Schedule/program subject to change without notice.

What to bring

  • High visibility clothing/outerwear—appropriate for the weather
  • Hard hat
  • Safety glasses
  • Work gloves
  • Rubber gloves
  • Work boots

Lineworker 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 work practices and a little speed. The individual with the best time and fewest infractions will be recognized.

Optional evening activities

Wednesday, May 8

Sporting clay shoot, golf, or archery
Participants are responsible for any fees associated with these optional activities. For archery, participants need to supply their own bow and arrows.


Participants will receive a certificate of achievement. Watch for an email notification from MMUA after the event.

Lodging information

Marshall offers many hotel options, in addition to the hotels listed here. MMUA has arranged for discounted lodging at the AmericInn and EverSpring Inn. Please ask for MMUA’s reduced rate when making your reservation. We recommend making your hotel reservation as soon as possible, as availability cannot be guaranteed. 

1406 East Lyon Street
Marshall, MN

EverSpring Inn & Suites
1500 East College Drive
Marshall, MN

Sleep Inn & Suites
1300 Nwakama Street
Marshall, MN

Registration fee

Member—$535 per person
Non-member—$720 per person

Registration fee includes: workshop tuition, materials, refreshment breaks, two lunches, and a certificate of achievement. Participants are responsible for their own transportation and lodging.

Registration fee increases $50 per person on April 6. Deadline to register is April 15.


Cancellations are subject to a $50 charge per person if received by 4:30 pm on April 15, 2024. Refunds issued to a credit card will be subject to an additional 3% fee. No refunds issued after April 15.


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 calling 507.530.2096 or email craveling@mmua.org.

If you have questions or problems with registration please contact Theresa Neddermeyer by calling 763.551.1230 or email tneddermeyer@mmua.org.

This information is available in a printable brochure as well.