Many Colorado media outlets are reporting that we are at only 80 percent of snowpack for the water year; but what they are not saying is that we are doing better than last year—and snowpack levels are still rising!
This line chart compares the average seasonal peaks
The last few storms have improved the runoff outlook; meaning as the snow melts, the runoff water fills Colorado’s streams and rivers. This time last year, the peak snowpack accural was over and the runoff was well under way. Current reports from the Colordao Basin River Forecast Center show that we have surpassed last year’s snowpack peak by about 30 percent and we are still climbing with this week’s storms.
This will certainly improve Western’s hydro conditions
forecast for the Rocky Mountain Region. Although our hydro conditions are not back to 100 percent, we hope this year’s total will be improved from last year. Ski resorts may be closing and sad to see that the snow is just now accumulating, but here at Western we are ecstatic and say, “Keep it coming, Mother Nature!”
Putting science and mathematics to the test, high- and middle-school students spend late winter and early spring competing at regional competitions for top honors at the Department of Energy National Science Bowl at the end of April in Washington, D.C.
Throughout Western’s territory, our employees sponsor and volunteer for the regional Science Bowls in hopes that one of our local high school and middle school teams takes the top honors at the national level. Western employees volunteer as judges, timers, runners and announcers.
Starting Feb. 2 with the Big Sky Regional Science Bowl in Billings, Mont., and Rocky Mountain RSB in Ft. Collins, Colo., Western participates in six regional bowls. The Arizona RSB is scheduled for March 2 in Glendale, Ariz. Still to be schedule are the Sacramento, North Dakota and South Dakota RSBs.
South of Parker Dam near Parker, Ariz., sits the beginning phase of a new switchyard, just north of the existing 161 kV tap.
With the lines shoo flied around the new site, construction began with grading the site, erecting the perimeter fence and placing the foundation for equipment and the new control building.
Completing this switchyard will convert the existing 161-kV tap to a more reliable configuration that will provide better service to both Western and its customers. Using pre-payment funding the substation is expected to be completed and energized by December 2013.
Western’s Upper Great Plains Region gets in the spirit in their local community and wins top honors. Participating in the 19th annual Great
Lisa Wolf (l) and Jack Winter (r) win the humorous award for Western's Huron employees' association
Scarecrow Festival, the Huron employees associations’ “Watts Up!” cow–a metal cow made out of old farm parts and other junk–competed against 33 other scarecrows taking the humorous scarecrow commercial/organization award and earning the traveling trophy.
Watts Up is a metal cow constructed from a fuel barrel welded to an old truck frame with a front and rear axle from an old truck. The whole idea was to make it from used junk; and, if it were farm-related, that was even better. Read more »
In a spontaneous visit to Colorado Deputy Secretary of Energy Daniel Poneman made a quick stop by Western’s Corporate Services Office in Lakewood, Sept. 14, sandwiched between two other meetings in the area.
Opening with “I’m not really hear to talk; I’m here to answer any questions you have on your mind,” Poneman said in his video conference with several hundred Western employees. Read more »
Western hosted a webinar for customers Aug. 16—after posting the report a week earlier—to allow its consultant, Miracorp, to discuss the process they followed to create the report and also define Western’s next steps. Learn more about the study on Western’s Opertions Study page.
In a job where high-risk tasks are a daily business, training is vital. Especially when we talk rescue training. On an annual basis, maintenance crews at Western are required to perform fall protection training to be a “qualified” climber. In this photo, Ron Miller, Rocky Mountain Region lineman performs a simulated poletop rescue during training.
Brad Riser with FLIR presents operation of infrared cameras
Cosponsoring the Infrared Thermography: Hands-on Training for Utility Systems & Customer Service Applications, Western joined the Clean Energy Ambassadors and Montana State University in Billings to teach MSUB students and other professionals about infrared cameras.
Twenty students who came in on their school holiday joined by 20 employees of publicly-owned electric cooperatives from around Montana to learn about infrared cameras.
The cameras can be used in home energy audits to indicate air leaks or uneven insulation. The cameras also can be used to show hot spots along utility lines or at substations that might indicate a problem to repair.
To better manage fishery related actions at the Grand Canyon and Glen Canyon National parks, the National Parks Services held a public meeting in Page, Ariz., March 5. Participants who attended the meeting, including Western staff, are working to develop a single–planning effort that will better coordinate projects aimed to protect and restore endangered, native and sport fish populations..
The goal is to create a plan that covers both parks and gives NPS the ability to implement actions and ensure compliance coverage. The main objective of the collaboration is to restore the river eco systems to a pre-human state by removing non-native fish from some zones so the native species can rebuild. Other zones will keep non-native fish for sport fishing and will continue to hold non-native fish such as brown trout.
The next step is to schedule pre-scoping meetings to get information out to park guides, hotel owners, anglers, rafters and other stakeholders. As a stakeholder Western will be a part of the scoping process and will provide input when the environmental assessment is out for comment.
Preparing for the National Science Bowl in Washington D.C., the end of April, Western’s regional winners are ramping up. Of the six regional bowls, two more winners have been named. The first from the Big Sky Science Bowl in Billings, Mont., was Helena High School. The second (reining Nat’l champions) Mira Loma High School from the Sacramento Science Bowl. Our next regional competition is the Rocky Mountain Science Bowl in Loveland, Colo.