Public power officials recognized as leading energy industry innovators

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Officials from several public power utilities and the American Public Power Association have been recognized by Public Utilities Fortnightly magazine as leading innovators in the power sector.

Executives from the following public power utilities were recognized on the magazine’s first Top 40 Innovators list: Austin Energy (Texas), Florida’s Kissimmee Utility Authority, the New York Power Authority, Iowa’s Osage Municipal Utilities and California’s Sacramento Municipal Utility District.

Two executives at NYPA were recognized – Emilie Bolduc and Ricardo DaSilva. Bolduc earlier this year was appointed vice president at NYPA, where she is overseeing enrollment of more customers and expand the roster of services offered by the New York Energy Manager, or NYEM.

The NYEM uses advanced data analytics to provide thousands of state buildings with information on their energy use. Government facility managers across New York State currently use NYEM data to improve and better manage their energy usage and associated costs.

Public Utilities Fortnightly noted that DaSilva’s team at NYPA “is developing a broad digital hub for utility operations in one common space,” which is called the Integrated Smart Operations Center. DaSilva is vice president for strategic operations at NYPA.

KUA’s Bud Ajdukovic is another public power utility official who was recognized as a top innovator. Ajdukovic, manager for customer service at KUA, implemented a virtual call center to promote work from home and a program “to throttle staffing in accordance with customer call volumes,” Public Utilities Fortnightly noted. KUA employees are happier, as well as customers, “because their calls are better taken, and because utility costs are well-controlled,” the magazine article noted.

Another public power utility Top 40 Innovator is Austin Energy’s David Hood. Hood, an engineer at Austin Energy, leads the utility’s Multifamily Low-Income Weatherization Assistance Program, “targeting hard-to-reach apartment renters in affordable housing developments. The program is uniquely market-driven with incentives for contractors and property managers,” Public Utilities Fortnightly said in its article about the list of innovators.

Another public power innovator, SMUD’s Lizette Miranda, oversees SMUD’s Career Ambassador program to reach the nearly four hundred schools in the utility's footprint. “She increased the number of Career Ambassadors to almost three hundred and expanded the hands-on activities for the kids to make a bigger impact on them,” Public Utilities Fortnightly noted.

Josh Byrnes, general manager at Osage Municipal Utilities, “really cares about the kids in his area of all academic and socioeconomic backgrounds,” Public Utilities Fortnightly noted. Byrnes provides utility facilities to the Iowa Big North program, which allows students to work on engaging projects alongside adults from local businesses, the magazine noted.

Association’s Alex Hofmann recognized for work on eReliability Tracker

The Association’s Alex Hofmann, director of energy and environmental services, was recognized for creating the Association’s eReliability Tracker, which lets utilities collect, categorize and summarize their outage information.

“I am honored to be included on such a prestigious list of energy industry participants who are engaged in a wide variety of innovative projects,” Hofmann said. “Our members are using the eReliability Tracker to track their reliability performance and demonstrate public power's continuing commitment to reliable electric service," he noted.

“It is extremely gratifying to see Alex’s hard work on the creation of the eReliability Tracker be recognized in such a well-respected industry publication as Public Utilities Fortnightly,” said Michael Hyland, the Association’s Senior Vice-President for Engineering Services. “The number of Association members that were recognized on the Top 40 list offers yet another example of the innovative nature of public power,” he said.

Earlier this year, the Association honored 121 public power utilities with a "certificate of excellence" for reliable performance. The utilities have been keeping track of their reliability data via the eReliability Tracker.

To read the Public Utilities Fortnightly article, which lists the complete list of innovators, click here.