Launched in 1990, “Yagottawannadoit” — symbolized by mascot O.U. Toucan — was the theme of OUC’s employee incentive program, which was designed to improve productivity, teamwork and problem solving.
A Technology Tsunami
Keeping It Clean In 1990, the last major changes to the Clean Air
(e.g., performance-based standards and emissions
The tidal wave of technology advancements that
the existing mainframe system first installed in the
trading) to address environmental problems.
characterized the 1990s swept through OUC, too,
1960s. During this period, the utility developed a new
pollution problems such as acid rain, smog, carbon
OUC met the new requirements with ease:
as the utility “tooled up for tomorrow.”
Customer Information Reporting and Tracking System
monoxide and particulate matter. The amendments
Its power plants were already operating at levels
To run the electric and
encouraged, for the first time, the use of market-
significantly lower than the limits in the Clean Air
water systems reliably, safely
based principles and other innovative approaches
and efficiently, OUC used its
accounts. OUC also provided
own microwave Information
certain billing services for the
Highway, touching almost
city, county and state that
every facet of its operations —
would benefit from the new
people, plants, power lines,
system. CIMART provided
Act of 1970 were enacted — targeting urban air
Sky Lake Water Plant Comes Online In 1990, the Sky Lake Water Plant, OUC’s 10th
carbon/chlorine process instead of aeration to
water treatment plant, became operational to
enhance taste and eliminate odor. The process was
provide water to the southern part of the service
developed by OUC’s Ted Pope and Dick Dunham.
territory. Rated at 24 MGD, Sky Lake was the
Sky Lake came online just as Water Operations
second OUC plant to use the utility’s patented
surpassed the 100,000 active meters mark.
pipelines, substations, mobile radios, phones, faxes,
(CIMART) to meet billing
OUC replaced its mainframe with a new computer that was slightly larger than a desktop PC.
computers, machines and remote terminal units. OUC began “right-sizing” computer operations, developing PC-based systems and software to replace
summary billing, direct debits and remote meter reading.
A similar program called Project Estimating and Scheduling (PETS) was utilized for capital improvement and construction projects.
PROUD to Serve To encourage employees to “pay their civic dues,” OUC launched its PROUD Community Volunteer program in 1990. In addition to recognizing employees for volunteer efforts, the program provided $2 for every hour donated to an eligible non-profit organization up to $200. More than $2,000 was donated to community organizations. In just two years after the program began, employee participation in volunteer activities doubled.
In 1991, OUC completed the most extensive five-year program in its history to improve and expand its transmission and distribution (T&D) system — adding nearly $200 million in new or upgraded T&D facilities and equipment. In that time, the utility increased its primary circuit miles 27 percent to 1,246 miles and grew its capacity 23 percent to 1.8 million kV. But those statistics tell only half the story. They do not reflect the magnitude of the ongoing process of upgrading or replacing older infrastructure, modernizing or relocating equipment because of street and highway projects, and streetscaping projects that required undergrounding power lines, as well as enhancing and improving overhead systems. In 1991 alone, OUC upgraded underground systems in 10 older subdivisions to improve reliability. Ten new distribution feeder circuits were installed, the highest number in one year in OUC history. The system would eventually be expanded to include 29 substations, 338 circuit miles of transmission and 1,884 circuit miles of distribution, more than 60 percent of which is underground.
General Manager (1992–1994)
needs for 225,000 customer
OUC’s Sky Lake Water Plant.
OUC Expands Transmission and Distribution System
Troy Todd: “Champion of Community Outreach”
Troy Todd, a graduate of Virginia Polytechnical Institute, came to OUC from United Telephone (Sprint) where he was the CEO and former Vice President of Human Resources. A champion of “giving back,” Todd increased OUC’s involvement in the community. Under his leadership, OUC created the Community Relations area and organized employee “Community Crews” volunteer involvement efforts. Todd was passionate about transparency. During his tenure, OUC enhanced internal audit policies and instituted stricter ethics and purchasing policies to improve accountability and transparency. General Manager Bob Haven said of his predecessor, “Troy Todd will be remembered and appreciated for his leadership in launching initiatives that helped OUC remain competitive and in helping defeat an attempt to freeze municipal electric utilities’ service territories.”