Testimonials

WAPA Reaches $20M Milestone in Cost Savings

Nov. 16, 2016

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.

T&D World Article Link

January 18, 2017

This letter is written to explain that the Contractor performed services exceeding SaskPower’s expectations and in accordance to contract specifications on numerous lattice tower and steel pole reinforcement projects while under contract with SaskPower. The most notable agreements the Contractor has had with SaskPower are DL/366 B1Q/B2Q Road Clearance Upgrade Project (effective March 17, 2014) where 45 lattice towers on a 230 kV transmission line were lifted while the lines remained energized, and DL/397 Master Engineering, Procurement and Construction Agreement (effective September 30, 2015) where numerous live line and engineering projects were successfully completed.

Work responsibilities of the Contractor included energized tower lifting, energized tower inspections and repairs, live line work procedure development, live line steel pole phase arm replacements, emergency live line repairs, engineered job specifications and drawings, procurement and inspection of materials, and quality assurance inspections. This work proved extremely valuable to SaskPower. The innovative and reliable team efforts from the Contractor are unparalleled. Work was completed without sacrificing safety to meet deadlines, and the work was fulfilled to levels above expectation, which is a relationship to strive for with all contractors of our business.

Darren Wiebe, P.Eng, PMP
Engineer, System Planning & Asset Management
Transmission Services

“We have done hundreds of tower extensions here at Manitoba Hydro, so I am very familiar with the traditional crane hoisting method. The Ampjack system would have been an asset to us in many situations, particularly where access is limited for a traditional crane. The ability to adjust each leg individually and both up and down was an added advantage”.

Trevor Smith
Transmission Line Maintenance Manager
Manitoba Hydro

As a former Manager of an operations planning group, there were other advantages I saw in using the AMPJACK® system. These were all related to the costs reductions that accrue from the flexibility in scheduling of transmission line work because AMPJACK® allows the facilities to remain in service and because the equipment is highly portable work schedules can me more easily managed.

Blaine Poff
Manitoba Hydro Ex

Western Area Power Administration

Commonwealth Edison Co.

I would like to say “thank you” to all involved in giving me the opportunity to be one of the first in our industry to work with the Ampjack system.

Ampjack has a lot of potential in the line construction industry to improve circuit reliability as well as deregulation of low clearance high voltage lines.

The Ampjack system required minimal man power and equipment to install. As well as being user friendly to the men working with it. All installation of the system was installed by hand, handline, and some use of a hitch mounted capstan hoist. The equipment was easily transported to sights by small utility vehicles as well as pickup trucks and flatbed trailers, and can be easily moved by small forked equipment to most all locations. My crew and I successfully lifted towers in different increments from 5 ft to as much as 15 ft in height, never having to build extravagant roads, landings, or large cranes pads to accommodate the work scope. Best thing yet, is the fact that we where able to do the work fully energized without taking timely outages. With safety always being our main goal.

Working with the Ampjack system in highly congested commercial and residential areas as well as wetlands was easily accomplished by the use of equipment matting. We would lay down several mats under and around a portion of the tower, and stage all of the equipment with light weight forked equipment. This minimized the environmental footprint significantly. When the work at each structure was complete the environment looked like it had hardly been touched with minor restoration needed.

Since the beginning of my first Ampjack experience, I realized how truly awesome a machine this was, and how user friendly it became. Miss it already, and honestly looking forward to working with Ampjack and its team in the future. Hopefully soon, regular line work just isn’t the same.

Neuley Bissonette
Crew foreman
Northline Utilities

“I’m very impressed of the simplicity demonstrated operating the AMPJACK® system to raise high voltage transmission line towers and improve overhead conductor clearances.  In the past, this type of work necessitated the use of heavy cranes to lift structures, preparation of tower access trails into difficult terrain, and arrangement of costly line outages.  With the AMPJACK® system, utilities may now consider transmission line upgrading schemes with tower height raises without the cost penalty of renting heavy equipment and line outages.  Tower sites previously assumed to be impossible to access with cranes may now be accessed with the AMPJACK® equipment with small vehicles, or even ferried in by helicopter in remote sites.  In my opinion, the utility industry will find the AMPJACK® system a useful construction methodology in upgrading existing transmission lines.”

G. A. (Gerald) Proteau P. Eng.
Senior Project Development Engineer
W.I.R.E. Services
Manitoba Hydro International