City’s Public Utilities Department Receives National Recognition

RP3 Presentation 2022
Left: Charlie Bauschard, Director of the Department of Public Utilities. Right: Alex Hoffman, APPA Vice President of Technical & Operations Services; Josh Poston, Electric Engineering Manager for the City of New Bern Department of Public Utilities; and Aaron Haderle, APPA RP3 Review Panel Chair.

For the third time, New Bern’s Department of Public Utilities has earned a Reliable Public Power Provider (RP3)® designation from the American Public Power Association (APPA) for providing reliable and safe electric service. At Tuesday night’s Board of Aldermen meeting, Charlie Bauschard, Director of Public Utilities, gave a presentation to the Board explaining what the honor means for the city and its customers.

“We are proud of the national recognition and the hard work of our team,” said Bauschard. “But more importantly, this designation shows we are following best practices in our industry and creating long-term sustainability for the utility. This designation is not easy to achieve. I’m thankful to the Board of Aldermen for their leadership and to our staff for their knowledge, skill, and dedication to public power and to our department.”

A panel of 18 utility, human resources, and joint action agency professionals evaluated the City’s Department of Public Utilities for their proficiency in four key disciplines: reliability, safety, workforce development and system improvement. Each discipline is evaluated using a point scale and the highest score is 25 points. The evaluation also included the review of documentation and submissions from city staff as well as the City’s overall commitment to safe and reliable delivery of electricity.

The City of New Bern received a perfect score of 100 points, a Diamond level designation, according to the American Public Power Association. This is the second time the City has achieved Diamond status, and the third time overall that the department has received RP3 designation. The award was announced at the APPA’s annual conference in Nashville, Tennessee, last month. The City’s Electric Engineering Manager, Josh Poston, attended the conference and received the award. The Department of Public Utilities posted the good news to its Facebook page soon after. The RP3 designation lasts three years. The City of New Bern, like other utility providers, will reapply in 2025.

“I think over the last year or so, we’ve seen the vital importance of running a reliable and safe utility,” said Aaron Haderle, Chair of APPA’s RP3 Review Panel and Manager of Transmission and Distribution Operations at ‎Kissimmee Utility Authority, Florida. “The utilities receiving the RP3 designation have proven that they are committed to running a top-notch public power utility by implementing industry best practices.”

According to APPA, there are about 2,000 public utility providers across the country. Approximately 275 of them have been awarded the RP3 designation. Twenty-six of those are in North Carolina and of those, 13 have achieved the Diamond designation. The American Public Power Association has offered the RP3 designation for 15 years now.

By Colleen Roberts, Public Information Officer, City of New Bern