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Washington Electric Utilities earns award for continuing improvement

With more than 12,000 customers in Washington and spread throughout Beaufort County, Washington Electric Utilities covers a lot of ground and keeps the lights on for a lot of people. For its efforts to make the local electric grid better, the public utilities company was recently recognized by ElectriCities with an award for excellence in public power.

Washington Electric Utilities was one of 14 public power agencies in North Carolina to receive the ElectriCities Continuing Improvement Award.

According to an ElectriCities press release, the award recognizes cities and towns that constantly review and enhance all aspects of public power while focusing on cost reduction and increased efficiencies in current and future operations.

Washington City Manager Jonathan Russell says one major improvement to the electric grid is the forthcoming implementation of an outage-management program that will allow for the monitoring of outages in real time.

“We’re implementing an outage management software program that will help us monitor the system more efficiently and respond more quickly to outages we have,” Russell said. “It will also allow us to be more proactive in identifying weaknesses in the system and the grid. We can kind of systematically test before any major outages occur.”

In addition to the new software, the electric department has also focused on repairs and rebuilds of local substations, including a major project to rebuild the Slatestone Road substation, scheduled for completion this spring.

“I think those two items were the key points of the award, but it’s been a continued effort from (the Washington City) Council to reinvest into the system for better reliability,” Russell said. “The electric department staff goes above and beyond. They’re out there 24/7, keeping the power on.”

“The commitment and dedication that North Carolina’s public power providers demonstrate to their local communities is extremely impressive,” added ElectriCities CEO Roy Jones. “They are constantly working, in ways big and small, to deliver better service and more value to the millions of North Carolina businesses and homes served by public power.”

ElectriCities is a membership organization including public power communities in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia. ElectriCities also provides management services to North Carolina’s two municipal power agencies: North Carolina Municipal Power Agency Number 1 and North Carolina Eastern Municipal Power Agency. Learn more at www.electricities.com.