Georgetown Utility Systems (GUS) has been recognized nationally for reliability and safety.
In April, GUS attained Diamond Level status under the American Public Power Association’s Reliable Public Power Provider program. This is the program’s highest level of recognition and is only awarded after a rigorous application process and outside review.
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’s commitment to safe and reliable delivery of electricity. Georgetown will keep the new RP3 designation for three years.
Glenn Dishong, Georgetown Utility Systems utility director, presented the RP3 recognition at City Council (photo above). Georgetown is one of only six public power providers in Texas to receive the diamond designation.
“Each of [the other diamond status utilities in Texas] are substantially larger than we are, and I think we should be proud that we were able to do that at our size,” Dishong said. “I want to congratulate all of the folks from the linemen to the engineering staff to technical services. … It’s all the work that everyone does every day participating in those four key pillars of the program that makes us what we are.”
Georgetown Utility Systems had been a platinum designee since 2016.
During the council meeting, Mayor Dale Ross announced Lineman Appreciation Day in Georgetown in recognition of the work Georgetown Utility Systems lineman do 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to keep Georgetown’s electric system operating.
GUS General Manager Jim Briggs explains, “We measure our performance for reliability against other utilities nationally. What all of this that means for our citizens is that we are ‘out of power’ less often than other utilities, and if there is an outage, we are back up quickly; before most others.”
Briggs and Mayor Dale Ross agree most Georgetown residents can not remember the last time they lost power in their homes, and it is a good thing to recognize that we can take ‘flipping a switch’ for granted because our power is so reliable. “It means we are doing a good enough job that you don’t worry whether your lights will come on when you get home.”
There is always a possibility that the Texas power grid will require Georgetown to comply with rolling brown or blackouts due to overuse across the state—we would be required to reduce our load—but Briggs says the city has a partnership agreement to bring up distributed generation and avoid complete blackouts.
Mayor Ross declared our utility workers the unsung heroes of city government. “I’ve lived here 17 years and I can’t remember ever losing power due to any non-lightning circumstances. They are like referees or umpires. You don’t think about them much until something doesn’t go your way, but the city would come to a screeching halt if they didn’t do their jobs so well. Fortunately for Georgetown, our power is on virtually all the time. It would only be news if we lost it for any length of time.”
The Mayor went on to add that for a city Georgetown’s size, this is just another in a growing list of national awards and levels of recognition for service and infrastructure. “Our city library received one of only five national gold medals for innovation and service last year; we recently also won a national planning award, and, as Mayor, I happen to know there are more in the pipeline that I will be eager to report as soon as they are announced.”