Western safety practices exalted!

While Western employees work diligently keeping “the lights on”, they also aim high to go home safe each night. Safety is our number one priority and last year employees proved it by earning the American Public Power Association’s Electric Utility Safety Awards of Excellence for safe operating practices in 2012

Western’s Chief Operating Officer Tony Montoya expressed his appreciation saying, “We are proud of our safety performance. We have a staff of top-class professionals who strive to ensure safe operations in every facet of their work.”

In 2012, Western crews—including electricians, meter and relay craftsmen and linemen—spent more than 2.6 million hours working out in the field. Those 1,700-plus employees had fewer than 22 recordable injuries for an incident rate of 1.6.

The rate is based on work-related recordable injuries or illnesses and the number of hours worked during the year. “The award recognition goes to the employees who work in high risk environments each and every day,” said Western’s Safety Manager Kevin Jensen. “A successful culture of safety means every employee is watching out for their fellow Western brothers’ and sisters’ safety all the time.”  

What safety practices do you take pride in?

How much energy do you use? What’s it cost?

color-coded map of U.S. showing energy costs

How much energy costs by state

Do you know which state spends the most money per person on energy?

Spoiler alert! It’s Alaska.

Now, based on Energy Information Administration’s 2009 “State Energy Data System” you can navigate the Department of Energy’s interactive map to see which states spend the most and least money on energy per person.

color-coded map of U.S. showing energy consumption

How much energy states use

DOE also has an interactive map that highlights how much energy each state consumes.

You can see how varied energy costs and consumption are throughout Western’s service territory.

Looking at your state’s energy statistics, what do you think?

Wind generates awards

Western’s service area is in the heart of our Nation’s renewable energy potential. Nine of the 10 windiest states in the Nation are in our geographic footprint. So it makes sense for Western to partner with the Department of Energy’s Wind Powering America initiative to present awards to public-owned utilities and cooperatives for their leadership in promoting wind energy development.

On Feb. 22, East River Electric Cooperative in Madison, S.D., received the Wind Cooperative of the Year Award for generation and transmission cooperatives at the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association TechAdvantage Conference in New Orleans.

East River, a Western customer serving eastern South Dakota and western Minnesota, earned the award by creating a model for community-based, locally owned wind development that relied on South Dakota citizens rather than large equity investors.

Also, Western and DOE’s Wind Powering America initiative are currently accepting nominations for the 2013 Public Power Wind Award in partnership with the American Public Power Association.  Nominations are due March 25. See the news release for more information.

This is the eleventh year for the Public Power Wind Award and the twelfth for the Wind Cooperative of the Year Award. You can see the year-by-year progression on installed wind capacity in the United States in an animated map on Wind Powering America’s website.