Powering Strong Communities

Time Flies — Learning on the Road

Six months into my tenure at APPA, I continue to learn every day from our members, our staff, and our industry colleagues. It is important for a new CEO to get to know the staff and the operations of the organization. Not surprisingly, I’ve quickly seen how our staff is extremely capable and dedicated to serving our mission.

Much of APPA’s work is done in our nation’s capital, where the policy-making machines operate.

Table in a hallway as man walks by itYet, there is no better way to hear and see what is important to public power communities than to visit with them in person. This has been a fascinating journey of knowledge both in D.C. and over many thousands of miles around the country. So far, I have visited with public power leaders in 17 states and territories, with many more planned in the year ahead.

Priorities I hear from utility leaders, joint action agencies, and state and regional organizations that provide critical services to utilities, have consistent themes. There is the race to keep up with IT and cybersecurity demands. There is continued concern over the supply chain and being able to source distribution transformers and other materials. There is the realization that the next windstorm, ice event, or wildfire could put even more pressure on supplies and on the cost to run the utility. There is a focus on the critical role tax-exempt financing plays and the need for clarity around the rules for new tax incentives. There are the interrelated concerns about regulatory impacts to existing and new generation and transmission and the need to have adequate resources and reliability. And there is concern about the cost of all of this to the customer.

Truck with an RP3 logo on itAPPA’s efforts on advocacy, technical support, certification programs, and educational events — which brought together almost 5,000 unique attendees last year — are tailored in response to what we hear from members. The member connection with the association comes to life when you see a Reliable Power Provider (RP3) logo on a member’s truck or witness new investments in garages, shops, material storage, and office space that will lift the capability and spirit of employees to deliver even more effective service for their communities.

Man standing in front of sign for World War I historical displayInspiration outside of D.C. can also come from non-industry sites like an incredible World War I museum in Kansas City or a Cold War-era bunker in Massachusetts that now houses the state emergency operations center. It gives one perspective about our place in history and how important our role as providers of secure and reliable electricity will be into the future. Together, we can work to assist those who serve our community today, to honor those who paved the way for us in the past, and to train those who will join us to create a bright public power future for the next generation.