Marc Gerken, president and CEO of American Municipal Power, is the 2012 recipient of the Alex Radin Distinguished Service Award. Gerken has worked in the public power industry since 1990, when he became city administrator of Napoleon, Ohio. As the agency’s chief executive, he has led it through a transformation from a single-state agency to become one of the premier joint action agencies in the nation with members in seven states.
Gerken has led his members through some of the industry’s most challenging transitions. Allen Bonderman has followed in the footsteps of his father, Neil, who served as superintendent for the public power community of Primghar, Iowa, for 35 years and instilled in his son a dedication for service, care for customers, and belief in joint action. Bonderman’s accomplishments include developing the first municipally owned cable television system in Iowa, the first municipal WiFi Internet access service in Iowa, and organization of four different joint action agencies. Brian Skelton became general manager of Tullahoma Utilities Board in 2006 after overseeing city utilities in Bowling Green, Ky., and the electric utility in Opelika, Ala. Under his leadership, Tullahoma began installation of fiber optics to both homes and businesses, making it possible for the utility to now offer TV, high-speed Internet, and phone service. Skelton is a member of the APPA Board of Directors and serves as vice chairman of the Membership Committee. During his tenure, Welsh has overseen the expansion of the utility from 85 employees and 18,000 customers to 300 employees and 64,000 customers, becoming the sixth-largest municipal electric utility in Florida.
Welsh has served on the Florida Municipal Power Agency Board of Directors since 1982, the APPA Board of Directors from 1997 to 2003, and as president of the Florida Municipal Electric Association in 1995-1996. APPA’s Larry Hobart Seven Hats Award, which recognizes managers who perform a variety of duties in communities of 2,500 or fewer electric meters, goes this year to five managers of public power utilities.
Lynn Longmore, superintendent for Callaway Utilities in Nebraska, has spent the last 35 years working for the village of Callaway’s light plant.
Gary Moody, superintendent for Thorntown Utilities in Indiana, has spent 22 years overseeing the town’s electric, water, wastewater, and street utilities. John Ramey, town administrator for Okeene Oklahoma Power System, came to Okeene in 2007 after three decades with the city of Tonkawa, elevating from firefighter to city manager. Blaine Suggs, utilities director for the city of Newberry, Fla., started as a lineworker in 1984 and today oversees the electric, water, and sewer departments. Danette Scudder, member services manager of the Tennessee Valley Public Power Association, is the 2010 winner of the Roundtree Award.
The Honor Roll was established in 1978 to recognize employees or officials of APPA member utilities who have made significant local contributions to public power.
In recent years, the city of Tallahassee has become a leading authority on smart grid innovation and adaptive strategies to meet rapidly changing customer needs. The plug-in electric vehicle project included the purchase of Chevy Volts to test community needs and usage. The Home Energy Savers program improves residential and business customers’ ability to manage their electrical energy use and increase energy efficiency in their homes and buildings. Electric utility deregulation has been premised on the proposition that competition will control electricity prices and these competitive forces will produce just and reasonable electric rates. Over the last few years, the regional transmission organizations, a fundamental part of the restructuring exercise, have diverged from their initial focus of ensuring fair and non-discriminatory transmission access.
In the end, however, the views of Congress are less likely to be altered by court cases, economic models, academic articles or RTO performance. Here in deregulated Washington, for example, our local utility, Pepco, will raise residential rates in February by 18 percent, small commercial rates by 24 percent and large commercial rates by 32 percent.
Will the 109th Congress pay attention to this dramatically changed utility industry landscape when it turns its attention to electric policy issues? The Sheridan Group of Hunt Valley, Md., is the authorized exclusive seller of reprints of articles published in Public Power magazine.
Wyandotte Municipal Services spends $10,000 per installation to drill a bore field and install pipe for a residential geothermal system. An aggressive program by a public power utility is designed to make it the first-of-its-kind geothermal utility in the Midwest. The utility plans to create a direct-use geothermal system in Wyandotte—an infrastructure of wells and pipes that can provide geothermal heat to city homes.
The solution is circulated through a ground-source heat pump, which does the work normally performed by a furnace or air conditioning unit.
A heat pump in the building provides air handling similar to a conventional forced-air furnace system.
When a customer requests geothermal service, the utility visits the customer site to determine a location for boreholes and covers the cost of installing the vertical bore field, she said. Geothermal space conditioning systems take advantage of the earth’s constant 50-55 degree temperature.
Before signing up for geothermal service from the city, customers must first have good insulation and other energy-saving measures in place. Once equipment is installed, customers contract with the city to connect to the geothermal supply. Geothermal is a good choice for new homes, since the cost can be rolled into the mortgage, Tierney said.
Commercial customers may qualify for low-cost loans for geothermal installations through the Monroe Bank and Trust in Wyandotte. Wyandotte Municipal Services initially planned a number of geothermal projects on its own, including 25 new residential installations, 19 retrofit residential installations, three commercial installations and one new 20-unit multi-family development. Wyandotte Municipal Services has installed its first large-scale geothermal energy system at a local American Legion hall. The ultimate goal is to have all customers in Wyandotte reliant on geothermal over next 10 to 15 years.
William Atkinson is a writer in Carterville, Ill., and a regular contributor to Public Power. Utilities considering utility-scale solar projects need to take a wide variety of factors into consideration to make sure their project will be cost-competitive, says a new report from the Smart Electric Power Alliance, or SEPA (formerly known as the Solar Electric Power Association) and Recurrent Energy, a San Francisco-based solar developer that is a wholly owned subsidiary of Canadian Solar. Joy Ditto, senior vice president for legislative and political affairs at the American Public Power Association, is leaving APPA on April 25, 2016, to join the Utilities Telecom Council as president and CEO. The Tennessee Valley Authority, in partnership with the Tennessee Valley Public Power Association, has awarded 16.7 megawatts of solar capacity to four local power companies who applied through a pilot. Nebraska is one of the states to which EPA assigned a very stringent CO2 emissions target in the final Clean Power Plan. The cases involve an important issue for APPA and its members: state and local control of generation resource planning and procurement. Public power utilities are operated by local governments to provide communities with reliable, responsive, not-for-profit electric service.
More information on all public power utilities is on the About Public Power page and in the Public Power Annual Directory & Statistical Report. APPA was created in 1940 as a nonprofit, non-partisan organization to advance the public policy interests of its members and their consumers, and provide member services to ensure adequate, reliable electricity at a reasonable price with the proper protection of the environment.
Policy positions emphasize the importance of hometown decision making that puts customers first and ensures a stable supply of electricity while protecting the environment. A third party claiming to represent APPA is contacting attendees of upcoming APPA conferences and offering assistance with hotel reservations.
Five guys sat around a conference room table during their morning coffee break on a Thursday morning last May and told an out-of-town visitor about their work.
Robert Duffy, center, and Dennis Bednarski, right, are key members of City Administrator Diane Gard’s management team.
The utility today has an electrical engineer, an engineering technician, a customer service manager, an office manager and a purchasing agent.
Bednarski, the general manager, has no regrets about leaving Commonwealth Edison to work at a municipal utility.
He recalled the tension that often surrounded working conditions at the IOU when bad weather threatened to cause power outages. In that role, he got involved in what was then known as American Municipal Power-Ohio, the joint action power supply agency for municipally owned utilities. The agency, which became American Municipal Power in 2009, to reflect its broader geographic reach, manages and supplies wholesale power for its member municipal utilities. AMP’s members operate in the PJM and Midwest Independent Transmission System Operator regional transmission organizations. Donovan Individual Achievement Award goes to Allen Bonderman, retired general manager of Atlantic Municipal Utilities in Iowa, Brian Skelton, general manager of Tullahoma Utilities Board in Tennessee, and James C. Bonderman worked for the Iowa Electric Light & Power Company in Cedar Rapids in 1972 before moving to the public power community of Panora, Iowa.
During his tenure, the city of Sanborn received two APPA Energy Innovator awards: in 1982 for a study ofbiomass gasification and in 1983 for a load management system using cable television for communications. At Tullahoma, Skelton manages the electricity, water, wastewater, cable television, Internet, and telephone services. New industries brought to the community because of the fiber system and its services have added employment and tax benefits to the city.

He has also served as board member and on committees for the Tennessee Municipal Electric Power Association, the Tennessee Valley Public Power Association, and Tennessee Fiber Optic Communities. Welsh has served as president and general manager of the Kissimmee Utility Authority since 1982.
Under his direction, KUA has been honored by FMEA for community service and storm restoration capabilities and received multiple awards for excellence in lineworker skills and safety, communications, and financial reporting. Allen of Nashville Electric Service in Tennessee, Austin Carroll of Hopkinsville Electric System in Kentucky, and David Fraley of City Utilities of Springfield, Mo.
Carroll is general manager of Hopkinsville Electric System in Kentucky and president of the Kentucky Municipal Utilities Association.
Recipients have demonstrated accomplishments in seven areas; planning and design, administration, public relations, field supervision, accounting, human resources, and community leadership.
Since taking the position in 1990, Cornish has led the village through cost reductions and reorganization to tackle financial challenges. Under his leadership, the plant has in recent years installed a new cooling tower, assisted in the rebuilding of a generator, implemented a load management system, and promoted the purchase of wind power and landfill gas energy to include renewables in the portfolio.
His abilities as a planner has allowed the city to take long-gestating needs and break them down into smaller, more cost-effective projects. In addition to managing the water, sewage and electrical services for the town, he regularly visits the different classes of customers for the utilities to gauge community needs for programs and services. He was integral to the planning of 19 new subdivisions for city services that were part of a city growth from 1.5 square miles to 55 square miles in a 10-year period. He has been active in the American Public Power Association since joining JEA as an engineer in electric transmission planning in 1980.
The award is named for the retired CEO of City Utilities of Springfield, Mo., who worked in the pubic power industry for more than 50 years.
Any official or employee of an APPA member utility with at least 10 years of public power service is eligible. Scattergood System Achievement Award, which recognizes utilities for activities and customer service that enhance the prestige of public power.
With the first combined electric, gas and water smart grid system in the country, Tallahassee continues to receive national recognition for its modernized infrastructure and broad, holistic approach to helping customers save energy, water and money. In addition to Volts purchased for 16 residential customers, the BWL fleet, the Delta Charter Township, and the city, 20 charging were installed, including 13 residential stations and seven work and public locations. This has played into the utility’s 2008 strategic plan that included providing for long-term resource needs by developing and implementing an energy efficiency plan and fostering green events that allow the utility to interact with the community. All but the most committed free market ideologues now understand how difficult it is to establish effective competition in the electric utility industry. Generators with market power have been permitted to sell at market-based rates that clearly do not meet the statutory just and reasonable standard.
FERC has steadfastly avoided any rigorous analysis of the true costs and benefits of regional transmission organizations. Today, they are institutions that take a short-term market perspective that is simply not compatible with the long-term service perspective of load-serving public power utilities. The consequences of industry restructuring will be apparent to consumers and, when that happens, politicians will take note.
Congress refused to take into account the lessons learned from California and Enron, the implosion of the merchant generation sector and the associated financial havoc when drafting the last energy bill. Wyandotte Municipal Services in Michigan provides electricity, water, cable, Internet and VOIP to citizens.
Generally, 4- to 6-inch wells are drilled 300 to 600 feet deep to accommodate a thermal pipe loop containing a water-based solution. The water is a heat source in the winter, pulling the 55 degree water up and then providing additional heat and a heat sink in the summer, sending hot water down to be cooled. Because the unit relies on the relatively stable underground temperature, rather than extreme swings of outside air, the geothermal system is generally 40 to 70 percent more efficient than conventional heating and air conditioning systems. The company helps determine the most efficient places to locate the wells, installs pipe and supervises well boring, said Tierney. Each customer is responsible for the horizontal connection that runs from the bore field into the home, and for all internal equipment, including the heat pump and connections. Wyandotte is using federal grants and city funds to help reduce the up-front costs for customers. To help residential customers cover up-front costs, Wyandotte Municipal Services teamed up with Michigan Saves, a state program that offers loans for residential energy efficiency upgrades.
According to Geothermal Exchange Organization, a nonprofit trade group, utility bills for geothermal customers nationwide are 25 to 70 percent lower than traditional heating and air conditioning bills. The city is using a $7.8 million federal grant to build the 25 new homes and rehabilitate the 19 existing structures.
The installation will help the post work toward its goal of becoming the greenest post in Michigan.
While signing up for the service will be voluntary, the utility anticipates that, as customers hear about the savings their friends and neighbors are seeing in their utility bills, more will become interested.
Watching the lineworkers compete in these events gives you a real sense of the pride they take in their work, and the ever-present need to follow proper safety procedures.
Utilities and regulators in the state are wrestling with how to comply while maintaining reasonable rates and reliable service.
Why worry a€” we live on our own little microgrid with a limitless supply of electricity, right?
In an era of increasing federal regulation and technological change, it is important to understand why such local control remains good public policy and should be preserved. Public power utilities are directly accountable to the people they serve through local elected or appointed officials. Since two-thirds of public power systems do not generate their own electricity and instead buy it on the wholesale market for distribution to customers, securing competitively priced and reliable wholesale power is a priority. No such third party is affiliated with APPA or authorized to represent us — please do NOT make hotel reservations through any third party that may contact you by phone or email. Over that time, he’s seen the number of electric customers served by the city double.
Gard hired Dennis Bednarski, a 24-year veteran of Commonwealth Edison, to be general manager of the electric and water utility and gave him license to bolster the utility’s staff with new kinds of expertise.
Five new staff positions were added during a time when businesses across the country were reducing their work force. City Administrator Diane Gard and the City Council have made employee safety a priority and have invested in training and equipment to support that priority. Hedden gets involved in material purchasing, working with cable in-stallation contractors and safety. The utility recently purchased a truck-mounted hydro excavator, which will reduce the amount of hand-digging utility crews have to do and will reduce stress on wrists and shoulders. Tourism remains a vital part of the local economy, but the city is increasingly a place where people live and work, said Robert Duffy, director of economic development for Oconomowoc. The new Pabst Farms Town Center is expected to become a high-end retail shopping destination. After several years away from line work, Hedden welcomed the opportunity to be a supervisor and a hands-on lineworker.
The event will be timed to coincide with Energize Oconomowoc, a county event honoring local sustainability activities. Lead by Example has also sponsored installation of solar hot water heaters in local fire stations and purchased two neighborhood electric vehicles for use by the utility and the parks staff. A civil engineer, he chaired an AMP-Ohio member committee that oversaw construction of a 42-MW run-of-the-river hydroelectric project on the Ohio River.
To enable the agency to keep a strong credit rating, AMP has credit-scored its member communities, since credit rating companies look beyond the joint action agency to the member communities in assessing AMP’s creditworthiness.
Prior to coming to Kissimmee, he worked as an engineer for the East Kentucky Power Cooperative, R.W.
The award is named in honor of Harold Kramer and John Preston of Loup River Public Power District in Nebraska. He was selected for the Kramer-Preston Award in recognition of his pivotal role in creation and growth of the Reliable Public Power Provider (RP3) program. He has worked in public power for 26 years and has been a leader in the Tennessee Valley, the state of Kentucky and nationally. He has been active in APPA for more than 30 years and has served three terms as chairman of the association’s Environmental Committee. This paid off with an AMP Financial Creditworthiness Award for the highest credit score for a community with a population under 5,000.
Moody works hands-on with crews, including emergency work during and repair work after weather disasters. He helped develop and attain a grant to pay for a series of instructional videos on energy conservation, which air on local public television and will soon be available on the utility website. He has been deeply engaged in environmental issues and has served on numerous APPA task forces related to climate policy and clean air and chaired the association’s Climate Policy Group.

It was established in 2003 and includes a $2,000 scholarship to support the award recipient’s participation in any APPA-sponsored educational program (conference, training institute or course). She is active in a number of business and professional groups, including the Women’s International Network of Utility Professionals. While the city has provided electricity for more than 100 years and technology has transformed the industry, the focus has always been on the customer.
The project has enhanced awareness of alternatives to foreign fuels, helped identify barriers related to infrastructure installation and ownership of PEVs, and created additional jobs in the state for building cars, batteries, and charging stations.
In conjunction with this, BWL has reached out to the community through expert presenters for community meetings and hosts community events such as festivals and recycling initiatives. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit found that while FERC may permit jurisdictional utilities to sell power at market-based rates, it may do so only if it first finds an absence of market power and then monitors the sellers and the market to ensure that market forces are producing just and reasonable results. Wyandotte uses water, but adds a small amount of food-grade propylene glycol, a type of anti-freeze, for any pipes above the frost line, Tierney said. Geothermal systems cost several times more to install than traditional heating and cooling units, but those costs are recovered through reduced energy expenses over a period of five to 10 years. Wyandotte Municipal Services estimates that its customers should save between $500 and $1,000 a year in energy costs, and monthly utility bills are estimated to be in the $50 to $60 range. A quarter of these homes will be fitted with geothermal heating and cooling systems and sold to low-income families for about $120,000.
Lineworkers working in crews have to be able to rely on each other and to put safety first at all times. Nebraska has long been a coal-dependent state, which makes sense, given its proximity to western coal deposits.
The problem is that when we disconnect from the main grid, the collective amount of generation in our microgrid is suddenly unable to supply 100 percent of load. A certificate will be sent at the time of a public power utility’s 100-year anniversary. A decade ago, he was tapped to be operations manager, a small utility’s title for the chief operating officer. But the Oconomowoc Utilities team endured eight months of tension while they rebuilt the transformer. The city sits midway between Madison, the state capital, and Milwaukee, and thus serves as a bedroom community for those major metropolitan areas. The utility donated land adjacent to its Cooley substation to Green Oconomowoc to use for a community garden. Beyond power supply, the agency also provides technical and financial fitness services, safety training, and tree-trimming services. He worked with three other APPA member utilities to run a pilot program to test the RP3 model. He has also been actively involved in the APPA Energy and Air Quality Task Force and was an officer of the APPA Engineering & Operations Technical Conference. He also serves on the board of directors for the Michigan South Central Power Agency, a public-private agreement to construct a coal fired power plant that will use tires to offset some of the fuel. In addition to his major role in the utility, Longmore has served as a reserve police officer and volunteer fire chief.
He is also a commissioner to the Indiana Municipal Power Agency, actively promoting IMPA initiatives such as its energy efficiency program. Suggs served on the boards of directors for the Florida Municipal Power Agency and Florida Municipal Electric Association from 1989 to 2007.
The award is named for the former president and chief executive officer of APPA, who headed the association from 1995-2007.
Eligible recipients of the award include any employee of an APPA-member utility who has been in his or her current position for five or fewer years.
She was a master judge for scoring at the APPA Lineworkers Rodeo and is a member of the review panel for APPA’s Reliable Public Power Provider program.
Innovative programs and community outreach activities have improved efficiency, stimulated the economy and provided new business opportunities. Prices in neighboring states have risen due to greater reliance on high natural gas prices. Homeowners have the option of installing a stand-alone geothermal system, rather than connecting to city-owned utility’s system. The average cost to the customer to purchase the geothermal equipment and hook up to the bore field can be as high as $12,000. Collectively, they’ve worked for the Oconomowoc (pronounced oh-CON-oh-moe-walk) electric utility for more than 90 years. It runs a comprehensive energy efficiency and demand response program, and fosters economic development, community outreach programs for its member cities. Since 2004, he has been a member of the RP3 review panel and has reviewed RP3 applications for seven years.
Drawing on his advanced academic credentials and his first-hand experience at a utility that operates a coal-fired power plant, Fraley has represented the industry at numerous state, regional and federal meetings and has provided insightful analysis of the potential impact of proposed and effective regulations.
It recognizes an individual who works successfully in support of national issues of importance to public power. In these roles, he has been an effective spokesman for public power on environmental and electricity markets issues. Most importantly, these efforts have empowered customers with greater flexibility, choices and control in managing their home and commercial energy usage. Taking advantage of the Ohio statute, Ohio Power is seeking a 28 percent increase in the generation portion of its rates over three years.
But a 30 percent federal tax credit and other incentives have reduced the cost for Wyandotte customers.
The American Legion installed the new equipment with the help of member donations and by taking advantage of a 1.99 percent interest loan available through grant funds awarded to the Wyandotte utility. The utility has a Sensus automated metering system that supports remote meter reading and can supply quarter-hour usage information that helps answer customer concerns about high bills.
Beyond his role in developing the program, he has been a tenacious promoter of the program. In recent years, as head of the Kentucky Municipal Utilities Association, he has raised the participation of municipal utilities in that state in regional and national energy and broadband issues. His involvement in those efforts has been especially intense over the last two years as utilities have confronted a growing number of complex air, water and hazardous waste regulations. He has testified before Congress and met with officials and staff of regulatory agencies to explain the practical impact of proposed and implemented legislation and regulation on public power utilities. Wyandotte is one of 20 cities in the nation awarded an Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant from the U.S. Wyandotte geothermal customers pay about $300 a month for 12,000 Btu of heating or cooling.
Army, Honore said he’s spending the second half of his life committed to a new mission: creating a culture of preparedness.
Hedden spent 13 years at Commonwealth Edison, then worked briefly at a small municipal utility and went on to run safety training programs for Municipal Electric Utilities of Wisconsin for six years. He testified before a congressional committee in 2011 to explain the importance of municipally owned telecommunications services in the goal of bringing high-speed broadband to all American households. He taught aspiring lineworkers at Northeast Wisconsin Technical College for a year before joining the staff at Oconomowoc. Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Energy and the White House Office of Management and Budget.
The city received $3.8 million for the geothermal project and other efficiency initiatives. Today, EnergyNet provides Internet services to more than 3,000 businesses and residents in Hopkinsville.
He is active in many civic and industry groups and has taught graduate-level courses on environmental health and environmental regulation at Missouri State University. City of Tallahassee Utilities also served as a case study and key contributor to the Executive Office of the President of the United States for the White House Grid Modernization Summit in 2011. The goal of the RP3 program is to encourage public power utilities to demonstrate basic proficiency in reliability, safety, training and system improvements.
He has also worked to develop a regional municipally owned long-haul fiber network to support economic development in Kentucky.
He has been the driving force behind Nashville Electric’s RP3 applications, which won platinum and, subsequently, diamond, designations for the utility. Beyond his involvement in RP3, he was co-chair of the team that made arrangements for the 2011 Public Power Lineworkers Rodeo in Nashville.

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