WisBusiness: UW biz school snags utility programs

By Brian E. Clark

The University of Wisconsin School of Business has persuaded two utility groups to relocate training programs to the Madison campus.

The Edison Electric Institute will host its Electric Rate Advanced Course at the Fluno Center at 601 University Ave. in conjunction with the Wisconsin Public Utility Institute.

The course was previously held at Indiana University. Course offerings will begin this month and are open to institute members only. The Edison Institute is the association of U.S. shareholder-owned electric companies, industry associates and international affiliates.

In a second development, the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association has chosen UW-Madison as the new home of its 28-week-long training program. The course has been conducted at the University of Nebraska.

Classes will begin this month and will be taught at the Fluno Center and the Pyle Center.

The rural utility association represents more than 900 private, consumer-owned electric cooperatives – including 24 in Wisconsin – that provide service to more than 37 million people in 47 states.

Wendy Grapentine, the Wisconsin Public Utility Institute director, said her organization is pleased to be the new home for both of the programs.

Eric Ackerman, senior manager of regulatory policy for the Edison Electric Institute, said his group looked at several other schools.

“But when we considered the University of Wisconsin’s academic reputation, the significant rate-making expertise present in Madison, the world-class facilities, the mid-continent locations – not to mention the beauty of Madison by the lake – it was a no-brainer,” said Ackerman.

He led the team that conducted the search for the institute’s Advanced Rate School.

Grapentine said she is looking forward to strengthening the programming ties between the Edison Institute and the Wisconsin Public Utility Institute through the development of new offerings.

Founded in 1982, Grapentine’s organization is part of Executive Education at UW-Madison’s School of Business. It mission is to advance the understanding of public policy issues in the electricity, gas and telecommunications industries.