Municipal Electric Systems of Oklahoma recently announced that Tahlequah Public Works Authority was recognized for Outstanding Achievement in the association’s annual Electric Operations and Reliability Competition in Oklahoma.
The utility was recognized in the category for cities over 10,000 population and cited for having one of the lowest System Average Interruption Duration Index amongst all members.
TPWA’s success was reached through its commitment to system maintenance and operational excellence. TPWA’s employees met the requirements of their work with professionalism and safety due to employers efforts, according to MESO. These efforts included four years of field experience and testing for each line worker before he achieves journey lineworker status. They receive continuing education as participants in the MESO Job Training and Safety program.
Through having one of the lowest SAIDI, TPWA customers experienced outages of less the 30 minutes on average in 2014. This quick responsiveness comes from having local ownership of the electric system and crews within two miles of most customers.
MESO General Manager Tom Rider presented the award to TPWA. He said the trade association valued the continues participation of the various utilities in the region in the annual reliability competition and that through ongoing review over time they find which systems have continuous excellence in operational performance.
“TPWA not only has taken many steps to maintain reliability but continues to invest in system improvement,” said Rider. “The current construction standards and employee training standards of this utility are superior. This training and development of staff and increased funding for reliability resulted in the continued excellent performance of the utility. Local control means local crews. That means fast response. And fast response means less outage time.”
MESO is an electric utility trade association representing cities in Oklahoma, Missouri, Kansas, and Arkansas. The association’s member utilities provide nonprofit electric services and electric power generation to some 750,000 people in four states. TPWA purchases its energy from Grand River Dam Authority.
To ensure fast response to emergencies, TPWA is also a signatory to Mutual Aid Agreements in the region. These agreements are recognized by FEMA for use in the event of emergency disaster. Utilities in Kansas, Missouri, Arkansas, and Oklahoma agree through the program on the conditions under which assistance may be received in an emergency ahead of the event so there are fewer delays in responding to the needs of another utility.