Upper Great Plains contracted with a company to use new lifting technology on 37 towers in summer and fall to ensure appropriate ground clearances The work can be done energized and doesnt require heavy vehicles and equipment or significant numbers of people to accomplish the job saving time and money For safety reasons UGP will do the work deenergized Cody Kinsley/WAPA/Flickr
Upper Great Plains contracted with a company to use new lifting technology on 37 towers in summer and fall to ensure appropriate ground clearances. The work can be done energized and doesn't require heavy vehicles and equipment or significant numbers of people to accomplish the job, saving time and money. For safety reasons, UGP will do the work de-energized.

WAPA Reaches $20M Milestone in Cost Savings

UGP’s construction project leveraged new technology to lift and add height to a tower without removing the conductor, needing cranes or involving a significant number of workers and heavy equipment.

Western Area Power Administration has announced a milestone in its cost-savings efforts – more than $20 million in future costs have been avoided in the past two years through its initiatives and process improvement projects.

"At WAPA, we help communities remain competitive by keeping their electric costs low through improving our processes," said Administrator and CEO Mark A. Gabriel. "We are constantly pursuing ways to contain costs and be effective stewards of our customers' investments and our nation's assets.”

Since 2014, WAPA has tracked cost savings and formalized a Continuous Process Improvement program.

In total, WAPA has implemented $21.4 million in cost savings for three key categories: initiatives, formal CPI projects and informal “Just Do It” efforts. For the latter, the CPI program calculates the process improvements that employees implement at their desk or truck with the goal of striving to be more efficient and effective in daily work.

“I am always encouraged to see how naturally employees both in the office and out in the field include process improvement in their work,” said CPI Program Manager Jennifer Rodgers. “Our employees are continually finding and making little adjustments that add up to big results for WAPA, our customers and the public.”

CPI staff use the Lean Six Sigma methodology for its formal projects with emphasis on rapid improvement events. Rapid improvement events are weeklong workshops through which process stakeholders from across WAPA come together to collectively fix the identified process issues. WAPA has completed 18 formal CPI projects leveraging teamwork across the organization and enabling quick results. The projects account for $2.5 million saved, which means around a 260-percent return on investment for WAPA’s investment in the CPI program.

Employees also track cost savings on its bigger initiatives, like its Operations Consolidation Project and the Upper Great Plains’ innovation in construction. Specifically, UGP’s construction project leveraged new technology to lift and add height to a tower without removing the conductor, needing cranes or involving a significant number of workers and heavy equipment. Those initiatives have realized about $18.6 million in cost savings.

WAPA’s people and organization are continuously evolving to deliver on its mission, stay aligned with industry changes and ensure workforce sustainability. WAPA’s commitment to organizational excellence and continuous improvement means that it will work to address between 7-10 projects per year that provide the most benefit to mission delivery within the context of Roadmap 2024.

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