Stoughton Utilities was recently honored as one of 94 public power utilities to earn the 2014 Reliable Public Power Provider (RP3) recognition from the American Public Power Association for providing consumers with the highest degree of reliable and safe electric service. Stoughton Utilities has consistently been awarded this biennial designation during each selection period since 2006. 2014 marked our first year of achieving Diamond status, the highest possible designation.
Out of the more than 2,000 public power utilities in the nation, less than 10% are recognized as Reliable Public Power Providers. There are just eight RP3 utilities in Wisconsin.
RP3 is the American Public Power Association's (APPA)
program to encourage public power systems to demonstrate proficiency in providing reliable and safe electric service to their communities. The RP3 designation recognizes public power utilities that demonstrate proficiency in four key disciplines: reliability, safety, workforce development and system improvement. Criteria within each category are based on sound business practices and represent a utility-wide commitment to safe and reliable delivery of electricity. Utilities who successfully meet the guidelines in each of the four areas will receive tremendous value and recognition for their achievement.
RP3 Program Criteria
The RP3 program designates four specific areas to measure a utility's adequacy in providing system proficiency: Reliability, Safety, Workforce Development, and System Improvements. Each designated area represents 25 percent of the total score, and criteria are based upon sound business practices and a utility-wide commitment to a safe and reliable delivery of service. Stoughton Utilities scored a 99%, with perfect scores in Reliability, Safety, and System Improvements.
View full list of 2014 RP3 Utilities
The term "reliable" is defined by Webster's Dictionary as an adjective that means: can be relied on; dependable; trustworthy; and worthy of confidence. Although these are all true in context, reliability of an electric system goes deeper than just defining the results that are evident through reliable day-to-day service. Questions such as "does the utility belong to a mutual aid network to handle major storms?" and "has the utility prepared for a major disaster?" are very important. In the APPA's RP3 program, the criteria used to define a reliable utility are balanced between statistical analysis (results) and proof of membership in mutual aid, along with disaster preparation. Key elements of the Reliability category include reliability indices, a mutual aid agreement, a system-wide disaster management plan (emergency response plan), and measures towards becoming NERC compliant.
Workers safety starts with the utility's safety program. This commitment to safety must begin with top management and include safety in all aspects of operations from generation to line work, and all utility services in between. Benchmarking of safety statistics by tracking industry-accepted OSHA incident rates, along with a proven commitment to safety, focusing on frontline workers, is crucial to the delivery of safe and reliable electricity. In the RP3 program, each utility must prove that it uses an accepted safety manual, provides benchmarking information through APPA's Annual Safety Contest, and follows safe work practices, to name a few critical items.
Training employees, whether through traditional avenues such as workshops and college courses or through in-house programs, demonstrates that a utility values its workforce. However, education alone is not sufficient, especially in the world of public power. This section covers a broader scope of workforce development. Utilities benefit from providing opportunities for staff to network with other utility representatives throughout the nation and encourage them to get involved in the national perspective of utility relations. Utility staff knowledge increases through membership in state, regional, and nationally focused committees, conferences and training. RP3 applicants must demonstrate that their utility staff attends applicable industry conferences and workshops, are provided education and career development, are active either directly or indirectly on industry committees, and the utility has addressed workforce and succession planning challenges.
Stewardship of utility assets is essential to ensuring long term system reliability and performance. Keeping an electric utility well maintained and up-to-date by mandating an improvement program that includes both an eye on the future through R&D and a commitment to system betterment programs, can help utilities provide reliable services in the future. Important items in this section include demonstrating that your utility participates in a national, regional, or local R&D program, and descriptions of system betterment projects to maintain your system's integrity and efficiency.