2019 Electric Division Review

2019 brought several changes to the Borough of Ephrata Electric Department. Paul Swangren transitioned from Public Works and Water Superintendent to Enterprise Operations Manager which brought the Electric Division under his oversight. Nate Merkel was also brought on board as Technical Support Manager to assist with daily electric operations and oversee and leverage existing technology. Bruce Haws was promoted to Foreman of the Electric Division and celebrated 31 years of service to the Borough while Glenn Buchter retired after 26 years of service to the Borough.

The Borough of Ephrata is a member of the American Public Power Association (APPA) which provides the Borough with outage tracking and statistics on an annual period.  For the past 9 years, the Borough of Ephrata has received the Reliable Public Power (RP3) award which is the highest recognition for a Public Power Utility. APPA utilizes the Average Service Availability Index (ASAI) which is the total number of customer hours that service was available during a given period to the total customer hours. Essentially, the power reliability of the Borough’s electric distribution system. For 2019, the ASAI reliability rating was 99.98%. The Borough of Ephrata Electric Division personnel responded to a total of 45 outage events in 2019 which is the cause for the .02% drop from a perfect 100% reliability rating.  Of those 45 events, tree limbs interrupting electrical service was the highest outage cause with 13 outage events. When an outage was experienced in 2019, the average time a customer was out of power was approximately 68 minutes.

Along with APPA the Borough of Ephrata Electric Division is also a member of American Municipal Power (AMP) and serves as the Pennsylvania representative on AMP’s Board of Trustees.  AMP consists of 135 municipal power communities across Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, and one joint action agency in Delaware. Every September, AMP hosts an annual conference highlighting members community and providing recognition across several different categories.  The 2019 AMP conference saw the Borough of Ephrata Electric Division bring home three separate awards. The Innovation award was received for the Electric Division’s development and use of its Geographic Information System. The Division received the prestigious safety award for under the Transmission/Distribution category and System Improvement award for the Ephrata Borough Solar Photovoltaic project (solar farm). Robert Thompson accepted the Service Award which recognized the Borough of Ephrata’s commitment to AMP’s Board of Trustees for the previous three years. Jeff Powell who is a 1st class lineman and safety coordinator for the Borough received the prestigious Hard Hat Safety Award which is only given to individuals who exhibit an exemplary commitment to safety. The Electric Division is also a participating member of AMP’s Municipal Aid Program in the Purple Sector.  The Borough of Ephrata Electric Division played a key role in emergency response to Hurricane Dorian.  Personnel from the division responded to the call for assistance to Ocala, Florida and the City of Franklin, Virginia.  The crew was staged for a week ready to respond to any storm damage that occurred.

The Borough of Ephrata is looking forward to 2020 and prides itself on providing the highest level of power reliability and customer service. The Borough of Ephrata Electric customers are urged to contact Nate Merkel, Technical Support Manager, for any technical questions for concerns regarding their power.  Nate’s direct line is 717-738-9236.