What is the RP3 Designation?
The RP3 program recognizes utilities that demonstrate high proficiency in reliability, safety, work force development and system improvement. Criteria within each of the four RP3 areas are based upon sound business practices and recognized industry leading practices.
The term “reliable” is defined by Webster’s Dictionary as an adjective that means: can be relied on; dependable; trustworthy; and worthy of confidence. Although these are all true in context, reliability of an electric system goes deeper than just defining the results that are evident through reliable day-to-day service. Key elements of the Reliability section include reliability indices, a mutual aid agreement, a system-wide disaster management plan (emergency response plan), and both cyber and physical security.
Workers’ safety starts with the utility’s safety program. A culture of safety must be created. This commitment to safety must begin with top management and include safety in all aspects of operations from generation to line work, and all utility services in between. Benchmarking of safety statistics by tracking industry-accepted OSHA incident rates, along with focusing on frontline workers, is crucial to the delivery of safe and reliable electricity. In the RP3 program, each utility must prove that it uses an accepted safety manual and follows safe work practices, among other requirements.
Training employees, whether through traditional avenues such as workshops and college courses or through in-house programs, demonstrates that a utility values its work force. However, education alone is only one of the important considerations a utility should embrace when developing and maintaining a sound work force. This section intends to cover this broader scope of work force development. Utilities benefit from providing opportunities for staff to network with other utility representatives throughout the nation and encourage them to get involved in the national perspective of utility relations. Utility staff knowledge increases through membership in state, regional, and nationally focused committees, as well as attendance in conferences and training. RP3 applicants must demonstrate that their utility staff attend applicable industry conferences and workshops, are provided educational and career development opportunities, are active either directly or indirectly on industry committees, and that the utility has engaged in work force development and succession planning initiatives.
Stewardship of utility assets is essential to ensuring long term system reliability and performance. Keeping an electric utility system well maintained and up-to-date by mandating an improvement program that includes both an eye on the future through research and development (R&D) and a commitment to system betterment programs can help utilities provide reliable services in the future. Important items in this section include demonstrating that your utility participates in a national, regional, or local R&D program, involvement in energy efficiency or conservation programs, descriptions of system planning and betterment projects to maintain your system’s integrity and efficiency.
Information provided by the American Public Power Association.