OPS recognized, honored with national award for outstanding safety practices

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Contributed by the city of Opelika

Opelika Power Services received recognition and an award from the American Public Power Association (APPA) during its annual Engineering and Operations conference.

Recognition – Opelika Power Services (OPS) has earned a ‘Diamond’ Reliable Public Power Provider (RP3) ® designation (the highest of three categories) from the American Public Power Association for providing reliable and safe electric service.

The RP3 designation, which lasts for three years, recognizes public power utilities that demonstrate proficiency in four key disciplines: reliability, safety, workforce development and system improvement. Criteria include sound business practices and an utility-wide commitment to safe and reliable delivery of electricity. Opelika Power Services joins more than 270 public power utilities nationwide that hold the RP3 designation.

“I think over the last year or so, we’ve seen the vital importance of running a reliable and safe utility,” said Aaron Haderle, chair of APPA’s RP3 Review Panel and manager of transmission and distribution operations at Kissimmee Utility Authority, Florida. “The utilities receiving the RP3 designation have proven that they are committed to running a top-notch public power utility by implementing industry best practices.”

“We couldn’t be prouder to be honored with this designation,” said Derek Lee, director of Opelika Power Services. “This is the culmination of a lot of work from a lot of people who really care about powering our community. But this designation is not a final destination. We are committed to continuing to look for ways to improve our operations and service to our customers.”

The American Public Power Association has offered the RP3 designation for 16 years now. APPA is the voice of not-for-profit, community-owned utilities that power 49 million people in 2,000 towns and cities nationwide. APPA advocates and advises on electricity policy, technology, trends, training and operations.

Award – Opelika Power Services has earned the American Public Power Association’s Safety Award of Excellence for safe operating practices in 2020. The utility earned the first place award in the category for utilities with 60,000 – 109,999 worker-hours of annual worker exposure.

“Utilities that receive an APPA Safety Award have demonstrated that they have made the health and safety of their employees a core value,” said Brandon Wylie, chair of APPA’s Safety Committee and director of training and safety at Electric Cities of Georgia. “Designing and maintaining a top-notch utility safety program takes a lot of hard work and commitment. These utilities and their communities should be very proud.”

Three hundred and twenty-nine utilities from across the country entered the annual Safety Awards. Entrants were placed in categories according to their number of worker-hours and ranked based on the most incident-free records during 2020. The incidence rate, used to judge entries, is based on the number of work-related reportable injuries or illnesses and the number of worker-hours during 2020, as defined by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

“Opelika Power Services values employee safety above all else,” said Lee. “We all recognize the importance of going home to our families each day; this is what drives our dedication to safety.” The Safety Awards have been held annually for the last 65 years. APPA is the voice of not-for-profit, community-owned utilities that power 2,000 towns and cities nationwide.

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