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Utilities hone performance with RP3

From the November 12, 2013 issue of Public Power Daily

Originally published November 12, 2013

Fort Pierce Utilities Authority has been a diamond or platinum level Reliable Public Power Provider utility since 2007, writes Alice Clamp in an article for Public Power magazine. Asked how it has achieved these high rankings year after year, Ed Cox, the Florida utility’s human resources manager, replied: "By sharpening the saw."

"Each year, all the utility managers, the city commission and the board meet off site with a facilitator and spend the day developing short- and long-term goals," he said. "The results are incorporated in the budget-building process, first internally by our managers and then externally by the City Commission and the board, with public comment welcomed."

The utility’s objectives and strategies meet the reality of available funding during the city’s budget-building process, Cox said. "With the implementation of the budget, we begin a new strategic planning process." That process is ever -evolving.

Fort Pierce decided to apply for RP3 designation in 2007. "The utility thought it would be a great opportunity to see how it measured up," said Jason Mittler, utility designer. "We used the application process as a strategic planning tool. When we got comments on our application, we wanted to be able to say: This is what we need to change or update."

APPA members are responsible for the launch of the RP3 program, said Alex Hofmann, APPA’s energy and environmental services manager. "In 2005, a few members asked Mike Hyland, senior vice president of engineering services, for a way to show that they were performing as well as they thought they were. They wanted some kind of program to help them make that assessment."

Since its inception in 2006, the program has evolved. Applicants are asked for less documentation now. And to make the questions more clear, some of the wording was changed. The aim, Hofmann said, is to make the application and review process as objective as possible.

Learn more about the program’s evolution and members’ experiences with it in the article, "Sharpening the Saw," on

Subscriptions to the electronic and print editions of Public Power and all other APPA periodicals are free to all employees and governing board members of APPA member utilities and associate members. An online subscription signup form is on



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