City Receives National Recognition for Reliable Electricity
Pierre’s Electric Department is again getting noticed nationally for being a dependable power provider. The American Public Power Association (APPA) is recognizing Pierre with an Excellence in Reliability Award.
According to data compiled from APPA’s eReliability Tracker service, those served by Pierre Municipal Utilities experienced an average of a little more than seven minutes of power outages in 2021; the five-year national average is 111 minutes without power per year based on U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) data. Those statics put Pierre in the top 25% of utilities rated by APPA.
“I’m very proud of our team,” said Pierre Mayor Steve Harding. “That kind of reliability doesn’t come without effort, and our Electric Department quietly works behind the scenes all year to keep electrical power flowing in Pierre.”
“Prevention is the name of the game,” said Devin Harris, Electric Superintendent. “If we can prevent one device from failing, we keep the lights on.”
To prevent equipment failures, annually, the department checks about 1,800 transformers, 300 switches, and three city-operated sub stations. Many are checked throughout the standard course of business. Those that aren’t touched during construction season, are scanned in the winter months with an infrared heat gun. The gun scans electrical infrastructure and identifies equipment that is radiating too much heat
“A hot spot tells us of a potential impending equipment failure,” said Harris. “That’s our cue to investigate further or swap out equipment.”
The city does not generate power. It purchases electricity from the Western Area Power Administration (WAPA) and Missouri River Energy Services; both are not-for-profit wholesale power providers. The City then distributes that electrical power to approximately 7,330 Pierre utility customers.
APPA represents not-for-profit, community-owned utilities that power 2,000 towns and cities nationwide.