Reliable public power provider (RP3)

What it means to be a Reliable Public Power Provider

For the fifth time in a row, Holland BPW is recognized as a Reliable Public Power Provider (RP3). This honor comes from the American Public Power Association (APPA). “The American Public Power Association’s Reliable Public Power Provider program recognizes utilities that demonstrate high proficiency in reliability, safety, workforce development, and system improvement.” (APPA)

While the accolades are significant, maintaining RP3 is a rigorous process that perpetuates continuous improvement throughout the entire organization. The application takes a deep dive into Holland BPW’s operations practices.

“The RP3 program is tremendously valuable for public power utilities,” said APPA Senior Vice President of Grid Security, Technical & Operations Services Adrienne Lotto. “Simply going through the process of applying for it can be a productive exercise—helping utilities benchmark their programs and identify areas for advancement. And receiving the designation is a real feather in the cap for these utilities, which represent the ‘best in breed’ when it comes to reliability, safety, workforce development, and system improvement.”

The RP3 application is a collaborative effort. Subject matter experts from different areas within Holland BPW contribute written answers and detailed documentation that demonstrates how we handle reliability, safety, workforce development, and system improvement. RP3 is focused on the electric utility; however, best practices apply to our water, wastewater and broadband utilities as well.

RP3 certification is up for renewal every three years. It requires documentation that processes are being maintained to ensure safety and reliability of the utility. The application offers a strong set of checks and balances that help keep critical safety practices, like Holland BPW’s Emergency Response Plans, up to date. Our emergency response plans are extensive, representing four utilities and multiple locations. Maintaining them requires ongoing effort. We also conduct periodic tabletop safety drills to practice the contents of the plans.

Extensive maintenance throughout our electric generation system is a key factor in achieving the highest RP3 level: Diamond. Mike Radakovitz, Superintendent of Electric Production, explains the diligence required to keep Holland BPW’s power generation running reliably and efficiently. “Preventative maintenance and corrective work is ongoing on all of our equipment at Holland Energy Park, our peaking units, and the gas pipelines. We have a Long-Term Service Agreement with Siemens where they perform maintenance on the combustion turbine and steam turbine generators at Holland Energy Park every 10,000 operating hours. We complete regular inspections, viewing the components inside the turbines looking for anything that might need replacement, repair, or monitoring. Cyber security is also a priority. We recently upgraded our control system to run on the latest operation system, which helps improve cyber security protections.”

Workforce development is an example of a priority that came into the limelight through RP3. While RP3 inspired formalizing a program for professional development, we believe in investing in our employees for their personal fulfillment and the continuous improvement of the teamall of which fit with the core values of our organization. Every employee sets a professional development goal each year. Employees may choose to take a class, pursue a certification or degree, participate in a webinar, or attend an industry-related conference.  It is up to employees to choose their learning paths, though supervisors can support the employee with ideas.

Participating in the American Public Power Association’s RP3 program has helped Holland BPW stay on the cutting edge of safety and reliability. We have learned valuable lessons through the rigorous application process. RP3 translates into maintaining a level of excellence for our customers that surpasses what many other utilities can offer. As a Reliable Public Power Provider, Holland BPW gives our community an advantage that allows Holland to thrive.

Learn more about Holland BPW’s organizational and individual awards.