The American Public Power Association recently honored more than one hundred public power utilities with a "certificate of excellence" for reliable performance in 2019, as shown by comparing their outage records against nationwide data gathered by the Energy Information Administration (EIA).
Utilities keep track of reliability data via eReliability Tracker
The utilities that were recognized by the Association have been keeping track of their reliability data via the Association's web-based subscription service, called eReliability Tracker, which lets utilities collect, categorize and summarize their outage information.
Subscribing utilities use the eReliability Tracker Service to store their outage and restoration data and run reports throughout the year.
At the end of the year, the Association benchmarks their data against national statistics from EIA, which is a branch of the Department of Energy.
Utilities that placed in the top quartile of reliability nationwide, as measured against the EIA's data on SAIDI received the certificate of excellence. The EIA information comes from the agency's annual surveys of electric power utilities via EIA Form 861.
“These utilities have gone above and beyond to provide reliable electric service to their customers,” said American Public Power Association President & CEO Joy Ditto. “Maintaining this level of reliability requires strong leadership and a dedicated team of professionals that really cares about serving their community.”
The complete list of awardees is available here.
Recipients comment on certificates
“We are proud to receive this recognition. It is a testament to the hard work of all our staff to ensure that we keep Ashland powered,” said Tom McBartlett, Electric Director at Ashland Municipal Electric Utility in Oregon, which received a certificate of excellence.
Another certificate recipient was Grand River Dam Authority, Oklahoma’s state-owned electric utility.
“GRDA is proud to receive this recognition from APPA. It reflects well on the efforts of our team to maintain reliability. It also reflects on the commitment GRDA has made to our customers and the standard that public power sets across the country,” said GRDA Chief Executive Officer Dan Sullivan. “The reliable delivery of electricity is always a top GRDA priority.”
GRDA noted on April 2 that it received the recognition primarily for its reliability record among its distribution customers in the MidAmerica Industrial Park. Based on EIA data, GRDA ranks in the top quartile (25 percent) of utilities for System Average Interruption Duration Index (SAIDI). GRDA also received this recognition in 2018.
In April 2019, APPA also designated GRDA as a platinum level Reliable Public Power Provider (RP3) utility.
Ashburnham Municipal Light Plant in Massachusetts was also recognized for its reliability efforts.
“Being part of a group that is deemed excellent is indeed humbling,” said Kevin Sullivan, General Manager at the utility. “From the material we use to distribute electricity to the methodologies, we try to maintain a continuous level of service. I owe this all to the employees, each of whom take ownership in everything they do.”
He described the actions that the utility has taken in the area of reliability that have resulted in it receiving the Certificate of Excellence in Reliability.
“Back in 2008, the area experienced a devastating ice storm. At that time, we hardened and changed anything affected to provide more reliability. Still to this day, we have tree crews that provide line clearance. This has been key,” Sullivan said.
Missouri Public Utility Alliance members
Meanwhile, several members of the Missouri Public Utility Alliance (MPUA) were also recognized for their reliability accomplishments.
“MPUA is thrilled and proud of our members that have received this award,” said Mike Siefert,
Director of Asset Management at MPUA. “It is impressive the lengths our member utilities go to in providing reliable service to their communities. We have always been impressed by the fact our members are dedicated to maintaining reliable systems.”
MPUA supports members with the eReliability program “by encouraging our members to participate in the program. MPUA and its members are very active with Lineworker Roundtable Meetings and Mutual Aid Meetings several times a year,” Siefert noted.
“The Roundtables and Meetings are opportunities for members to come together and exchange ideas on maintaining reliable systems. In addition, MPUA has supported our All-Requirements Pool Members (MoPEP) with a grant program. The program has made funds available to the MoPEP members for the purposes of improving their distribution systems.”
Siefert noted that the members themselves “have strong leadership, take great pride in the reliability of their systems and stay vigilant insuring their systems are in the best condition possible. It is their hard work, dedication and pride of ownership that ultimately results in recognition by their peers at APPA.”
MPUA members receiving certificates were:
- City of Fulton
- Columbia Water & Light
- Harrisonville Municipal Utilities
- Higginsville Municipal Utilities
- Macon Municipal Utilities
- Marshall Municipal Utilities
- Monett Electric
- Rolla Municipal Utilities
Clarksville Connected Utilities
Columbus Light & Water Department
Coffeyville Municipal Light & Power also received certificate
Coffeyville Municipal Light & Power (City of Coffeyville, Kansas) also received a reliability certificate.
“Coffeyville is very honored to receive the APPA annual reliability award,” said Mike Shook, Director of Electric Services for the city. “Coffeyville Municipal Light & Power takes our system reliability extremely serious. We feel this type of award highlights one the many benefits of having a public power utility in your community.” He said the award shows the dedication of all the utility’s staff including line personnel, substation crew, and generation personnel.
“CMLP has made a concerted effort to not only maintain our system, including our generating assets, but to continually strive to improve in all areas possible,” said Shook.
“Each year we plan capital projects to upgrade any aging field equipment, to provide the most robust system possible. CMLP is blessed to have an outstanding workforce. Our team is our strength. Our crews care about the community that they not only serve, but live in as well, which makes all the difference.”
ElectriCities of North Carolina
Several member utilities of ElectriCities of North Carolina also received certificates.
Those utilities are:
- City of Concord (Concord, NC)
- City of Monroe (Monroe, NC)
- Town of Apex (Apex, NC)
- Town of Smithfield (Smithfield, NC)
- Town of Tarboro (Tarboro, NC)
- Town of Wake Forest (Wake Forest, NC)
- Wilson Energy (Wilson, NC)
APPA’s Certificate of Excellence in Reliability “is a great way to recognize public power utilities who are striving to provide reliable and safe power to their customers,” said PJ Rehm, Manager, Technology & Renewable Programs, ElectriCities of North Carolina.
“NC Public Power has some of the most reliable utilities in the nation, which is demonstrated by those who received the certificate for 2019. This recognition is an excellent tribute to the effort our members have put into building reliable electric systems in the communities they call home. ElectriCities congratulates these member utilities, and we are proud to represent NC Public Power,” he said.
“Our members pride themselves on delivering the best possible service to their customers, including being the most reliable energy provider possible,” Rehm went on to say.
“As a state that frequently sees large storms and hurricanes, our member utilities work hard to ensure quick restoration times if they do experience an outage. Many of those receiving the 2019 Certificate of Excellence in Reliability have invested in outage management systems, AMI, comprehensive tree trimming practices, and have installed various technologies and devices on their distribution system to help improve reliability,” he said.
“ElectriCities has programs in place to assist members in these areas, and encourages our membership to make strategic investments into their electric systems so that they can provide reliable electric services to their customers now and into the future,” Rehm said.
American Municipal Power
Meanwhile, a large number of American Municipal Power (AMP) members also received certificates.
Those utilities are:
- Bryan Municipal Utilities (Bryan, OH)
- City of Bowling Green (Bowling Green, OH)
- City of Dover Light & Power (Dover, OH)
- City of Hamilton (Hamilton, OH)
- City of Hudson Electrical Department (Hudson, OH)
- City of Napoleon Ohio (Napoleon, OH)
- City of Piqua Power (Piqua, OH)
- City of Wapakoneta (Wapakoneta, OH)
- Cuyahoga Falls Electric System (Cuyahoga Falls, OH)
- Jackson Center Municipal Electric System (Jackson Center, OH)
- Montpelier Municipal Utilities (Montpelier, OH)
- Oak Harbor Public Power (Oak Harbor, OH)
- Orrville Municipal Utilities (Orrville, OH)
- Village of Versailles Utilities (Versailles, OH)
- Wadsworth Electric and Communications (Wadsworth, OH)
- Borough of Ephrata (Ephrata, PA)
- Borough of Kutztown (Kutztown, PA)
- Perkasie Borough Light Dept. (Perkasie, PA)
“AMP and our members understand the importance of system reliability and operational efficiency,” said Michelle Palmer, AMP Vice President of Technical Services. “Each of our members works hard to maintain excellent reliability and the RP3 designation is an acknowledgement of those efforts – we are proud to celebrate their achievements.”
She said that AMP encourages its members to achieve recognition through the APPA RP3 program. “We offer a number of services to support members seeking to improve and excel in reliability. Directly related to RP3, AMP provides review of applications, assistance in tracking outages and calculating the IEEE indices.”
Palmer noted that all AMP members have access to the APPA eReliability Tracker service through their membership with AMP.
“Our Mutual Aid program is robust and provides aid throughout our membership and to other APPA members outside of our membership. Additional support is provided through regular AMP instructed safety, lineworker and technical trainings, disaster plan assistance, creation of five- and 10-year plans, and review of physical security,” she said.
Recipients recognized in local media
Certificate recipients are receiving recognition for their reliability achievements in local media outlets.
For example, the Denton Record-Chronicle on April 10 highlighted the fact that public power utility Denton Municipal Electric received the APPA certificate.