by Terry Rogers
The City of Milford recently learned that the City will be recognized as a Reliable Public Power Provider (RP3) Gold Designation through the American Public Power Association. City Manager Mark Whitfield explained that he challenged Will Gallagher, Electric Superintendent, to apply for the designation.
“I always felt Milford would score well in the designation,” Whitfield said. “Although the award is not official until May 1, when it will be made at the APPA meeting in Kansas City in April, we are very proud of our electric department and the work the staff does to keep power on in our city.”
In order to qualify for the designation, applicants must meet criteria in four disciplines which include reliability, safety, workforce development and system improvement. The criteria is based on leading practices in the industry. An RP3 designation is a sign of the City’s dedication to operating an efficient, safe and reliable system and that the City leaders are committed to the employees, customers and the community.
“In order to receive the designation, there was a lengthy questionnaire that had to be completed,” Whitfield said. “During the application process, Milford earned points for our practices and accomplishments in the four disciplines. DEMEC encourages all members to apply. Seaford and Lewes both applied and received the designation last year.”
The reliability section required Milford to show that their commitment to providing quality power went beyond the day-to-day operations. They had to demonstrate their data collection and analyzation processes, provide information on their system-wide disaster management and emergency response plan while also showing how they had implement protections in areas of cyber and physical security. In addition, there has to be a culture of safety with a commitment from the top to keep employees safe. This includes power generation to line work safety measures, with an emphasis on the delivery of safe and reliable electricity using safety benchmarks.
Staff training was an important part of the workforce development discipline, requiring the City to show how staff was trained and the opportunities provided to staff to network with public power colleagues across the country. The system improvement discipline required elaboration on how the City maintained system integrity and promoted long-term planning through the management of assets and system improvements. Participation in research and development programs as well as procedures used to maintain financial health and the distribution system was also reviewed.
“This designation provides the City with many valuable benefits,” Whitfield said. “One of the biggest is how it impacts our bond rating which is basically the City’s credit rating. An RP3 designation indicates that a municipality has good governance, is focused on safety and works to improve as much as possible. All of these lead to financial savings and proof that we are exhibiting the characteristics that indicate strong management and governance.”