TPU’s community service, innovation capture national awards

Outstanding community service and innovation led to Tacoma Public Utilities receiving two awards today from the American Public Power Association (APPA). The awards were accepted at the APPA National Conference by TPU Community Connection Program Manager Erika Tucci, Tacoma Power Conservation Program Coordinator Jordan Whiteley, and TPU Utility Board Vice Chair Monique Trudnowski.

Community service
TPU’s Community Connection program was awarded the Community Service Award for its ability to address the community’s most pressing needs: improving housing, alleviating high utility bills and offsetting other basic household costs like food and school supplies.

The program’s employee-based leadership team runs 40 events each year to raise money and provide on-site help to address those issues.

“It’s important to all of us here at TPU to not only provide excellent utility service, but to be a partner and good neighbor to the people we serve,” said TPU Director Bill Gaines. “Our relationship with the community doesn’t end at the service meter. Our employees are so devoted that they contribute their time and considerable construction and other skills to the betterment of the community.”

This is the third time APPA has recognized TPU for its community service.

Tacoma Power has turned video chat into a powerful tool that makes it easier for customers to conserve energy. For that work, APPA has given Tacoma Power its Energy Innovator Award.

The utility’s conservation group figured out a way to use video technology to replace visual, on-site inspections for certain energy-efficiency projects like ductless heat pumps in customers’ homes. Going from on-site visits to video chat inspections reduces inspection time for customers, eliminates travel time for utility staff and reduces program costs.

This is how it works: Contractors use video chat apps on a mobile device to show utility staff their work in real time, just like they would if utility staff was on site. That process allows customers to take less time off work for inspections, and the utility can pay rebates faster and inspect more projects in less time.

“We are pleased whenever we can make things easier on our customers and our partnering contractors, and especially so when it helps us reduce costs,” Gaines said. “I applaud our team for keeping customers’ needs at the top of their priority list and using technology to do it.”



Pictured above: Wally Haase, chair-elect, American Public Power Association and general manager; Erika Tucci, TPU Community Connection program manager; Monique Trudnowski, TPU Utility Board vice chair; and Andrew Boatright, chair, American Public Power Association and deputy director.

Pictured below: Wally Haase; Jordan Whiteley, Tacoma Power Conservation Program Coordinator; Monique Trudnowski; and Andrew Boatright.

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