Operational Excellence: RP3

About the Reliable Public Power Provider (RP3) Program

The 2018 application is now open — sign up today to receive access.

The Association’s RP3 program is based on industry-recognized leading practices for public power utilities in four important disciplines:

  • Reliability
  • Safety
  • Workforce Development
  • System Improvement

Being recognized by the RP3 program demonstrates to community leaders, governing board members, suppliers and service providers a utility’s commitment to its employees, customers, and community. Additionally, an RP3 designation is a sign of a utility focused on operating an efficient, safe, and reliable distribution system. Currently 254 of the nation's more than 2,000 public power utilities hold an RP3 designation recognizing them for providing communities with the highest degree of reliable and safe electric service.

Download the RP3 brochure to share program information with your colleagues. 

Apply to Become an RP3  Designee

In the RP3 program, applicants earn points for their practices and accomplishments in each of the four disciplines. Criteria posed as questions within each discipline are based on leading business practices and are intended to represent a utility-wide commitment to safe and reliable delivery of electricity. If your utility earns the RP3 designation, you can use the designation status to demonstrate your value and operational excellence to your community. This prestigious designation has been awarded to qualifying public power utilities for 13 years now.

Applications for designation closed on Sept 30, 2017. Designated utilities will be announced in early 2018.

Fill out a registration form to get access to the 2018 application, which is available now. For utilities applying in 2018, designations will be announced in 2019. Any utility that wishes to renew a designation awarded in 2015 must reapply in 2018.

Learn how to apply and access helpful application resources at our "How to Apply" page.

Process and Timelines

Learn more about the program timeline below, or you can see the application cycle in this infographic.

  1. May 1 – Sept 30: Utilities complete application (submit by Sept 30)
  2. October: RP3 Panel conducts preliminary application reviews, requests additional information
  3. November: If needed, utilities follow up with additional details requested by the Panel's Requests for Information 
  4. December:  Panel conducts final application reviews
  5. January: Utilities notified of score results
  6. April/May: Designation status is officially active, and lasts for 3 years. Utilities recognized at Engineering & Operations Technical Conference
  7. Next three years: Utilities promote recognition in communities and to all stakeholders
  8. Year two: Utilities reapply for designation, one year prior to expiry to ensure no gaps in designated

About the RP3 Disciplines

The RP3 application asks questions in four disciplines — reliability, safety, workforce development, and system improvement. The rigorous process of applying gives you a framework to review your operations and to get help from the experts in fostering best practices. You are required to provide documentation of your utility’s practices and procedures and can get feedback.

Criteria within each of the four RP3 disciplines are based upon sound business practices and recognized industry leading practices. The RP3 Application Guide explains the requirements for each area, with guidelines for answering and scoring each application question.

  • Reliability: Reliability  goes deeper than day-to-day service. Key elements of the reliability section of the RP3 application include collecting and analyzing reliability data, having a mutual aid agreement, devising and using a system-wide disaster management or emergency response plan, and implementing cyber and physical security.
  • Safety: Utilities must create a culture of safety. Commitment to safety must begin with top management and be included in all aspects of operations from generation to line work. Benchmarking safety metrics, focusing on frontline workers, and implementing rigorous safety training is crucial to the delivery of safe and reliable electricity. In the RP3 application, you must demonstrate that you use an accepted safety manual and follow safe work practices across the utility.
  • Workforce Development: Describe how you train your staff — through webinars, workshops, conferences, college courses, or in-house programs. Discuss how you provide opportunities for staff to network with public power colleagues from across the nation and encourage them to expand their perspective through membership in state, regional, and national committees.
  • System Improvement: Describe how you maintain system integrity and promote long term planning through stewardship of utility assets and a commitment to system improvement. Show participation in research and development programs, procedures to maintain distribution system and financial health with the growth of distributed energy resources, and system planning and improvement projects.

More Reliability Resources

Learn about the eReliability Tracker service to report, analyze and benchmark your outage data.

Visit our reliability topic page for the latest news and resources.

Review the Association’s 2015 Distribution System Reliability and Operations Survey report to expand understanding of reliability operations, procedures, and practices.