People standing in front of power station.

Sylmar Converter Station Turns 50

By Christy Holland

Fifty years ago, LADWP celebrated the completion of the 846-mile Pacific DC Intertie (PDCI) and the launch of the Sylmar Converter Station—a state-of-the-art power transmission facility. The Sylmar Converter Station is the southern anchor of the PDCI, which is a high-voltage, direct current transmission power line that originates at the Celilo Converter Station in The Dalles, Oregon. Today, the station has not only withstood the test of time; it remains just as relevant and vital as when it received its first megawatt in 1970.

“When the PDCI was first completed, it was the longest and highest voltage DC line in the United States,” said Robert Fick, Manager, Hydro & Renewable Generation/High Voltage Stations, Power Supply Operations Division. “Nothing of this magnitude had been built before, so there was a lot of risk in taking on a project of this size.”

Power converter station eqipment.

Giant thyristors at Sylmar Converter Station. Photo by Chris Corsmeier

Flash forward 50 years and the PDCI is still the longest DC line in the United States and in North America. While it is no longer the highest voltage DC line, it can boast that its southern anchor, the Sylmar Converter Station, has recently increased its capacity from 3,100 megawatts (MW) to 3,220 MW following a $223 million facility upgrade. This modernization project was designed to extend the facility’s lifespan for 40 more years, ensuring continued reliability of power transmission between the two regions.

Think of the PDCI as a high-voltage electric superhighway and the Sylmar Converter Station as a transfer hub. The station receives high voltage power and then safely and efficiently converts it to AC power for delivery to customers throughout Los Angeles. The PDCI makes it possible to balance the power needs in the west by taking a surplus commodity and sharing it with partners in Southern California, where power supply demands are much greater.

It also helps strengthen LADWP’s path to meeting our
100 percent renewable energy goal by 2050.

“The PDCI was such a pioneering achievement when it was built, and Los Angeles and Southern California still benefit from it today,” said Fick. “Not only does it tie two distinct regions together for greater reliability of the western grid, it also provides access to power from clean hydroelectric and renewable sources.”

The Sylmar Converter Station is maintained and operated by LADWP; partners include Southern California Edison, and the cities of Glendale, Burbank and Pasadena.
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Featured Photo: The Sylmar Converter Station crew. Clockwise from left front: Kenneth Ly, Anthony Juarez, Daniela Lara, Andrew Gonzales, Robert Fick, Jeffrey Lamb, Bryon Harlacher, Michael Lane, Arin Barkhordarian and Gabriel Perez. Photo by Art Mochizuki




Retirements: August-September 2020

We extend sincere congratulations to all the employees who, after many years of dedicated service, are joining the ranks of LADWP retirees. For a complete archive  and the latest month of retirement listings, visit the Water and Power Employees Retirement Plan website.

As of August 2020

Aguilar, Mauro Fleet Services
Algorri, Gregory P. Water Operations
Coons, Lenn E. Water Operations
Cordova, Gilbert I. Energy Support Services
Fierro, Humberto J. Power New Business Development
Garcia Jr, Fernando Security Services
Gaskins, Willie J. Information Technology Services
Goodwin, Mark L. Water Operations
Jackson, Gloria A. Human Resources
Kaufman, Kurt D. Power Construction and Maintenance
Madadi, Hengameh Z. Customer Service Division
Marton, Andrew J. Power Supply Operations
Mendez, Rebecca H. Human Resources
Moore, Michelle R. Metering Services
Mumford, Mike J Water Engineering
Nguyen, Andrew M. Power Transmission and Distribution
Norwood, Jeffery L. Power Supply Operations
Ohara, Irene Water Distribution
Pearce, John W. Power Construction and Maintenance
Ramirez, Rodolfo Supply Chain Services
Reinosa, Teresa L. Supply Chain Services
Rivo, Edmundo S. Power Planning, Development and Engineering
Rodriguez, Maria E. Customer Service Division
Seaton, Steven L. Power Construction and Maintenance
Stevens, Eugene Power Construction and Maintenance
Topacio, Emerita M. Power Planning, Development and Engineering
Zheng, Thao Accounting and Financial Services

As of September 2020

Anguiano, Pedro B. Metering Services
Aquino, Ulysses S. Power Supply Operations
Chwa, David K. Water Operations
Clark, Kenneth E. Power Supply Operations
De Allen, Monica D. Customer Service Division
De La Garza , Rafael L. JFB Facilities Management
Digirolamo, Erasmo A. Water Distribution
Dold, Randal P. Information Technology Services
Dominguez, Roberto Y. Power Supply Operations
Espino, Martha P. Accounting and Financial Reporting
Gove, Peter V. Information Technology Services
Hamilton Ii, Richard M. Crafts and Environmental Chem
Hughes, Marinetta S. Board Office
loka, Susan H. Human Resources
Leonard, Jack B. Power New Business
Levesque, James L. Information Technology Services
Lewis, Stephen Grant Metering Services
Liwag, Peter M. Power Construction and Maintenance
N’Namdi, Jabulani Power Transmission and Distribution
Otoshi, John T. Water Engineering
Payne, Lamar 0. Facilities Management
Reiner, Lee Fleet Services
Van Zant, Norman S. Information Technology Services

 

 




Line worker looking up at pole

Benchmarking Study Shows LADWP Ranks High Among Peers for Infrastructure Investment

Ratepayer Advocate, LADWP Release ‘Functional Total Cost Study’ Comparing Labor and Non-Labor Costs to Peer Utilities

By Carol Tucker

LADWP is executing one of the largest infrastructure initiatives in the utility industry and compares favorably with its peers on cost effectiveness across a number of water and power functions, according to the findings of a new benchmarking study issued by LADWP and the Office of Public Accountability–Ratepayer Advocate (RPA).

The Department ranked in the top quartile for investing in modernizing both water and power infrastructure, such as mainlines and trunk lines, power poles, circuits and transformers, according to the Functional Total Cost Study, presented in August to the LADWP Board of Water and Power Commissioners.

“LADWP is 100% funded by the revenue we collect from our customers, and we continuously strive to deliver on our mission and achieve our goals cost-effectively,” said Martin L. Adams, General Manager and Chief Engineer. “The Functional Total Cost Study will guide our path forward as we transform our water and energy resources, improve water and power operations, and create more opportunities to better serve our customers.”

The public independent analysis, prepared by Oliver Wyman for the RPA with support from LADWP, is the second of a three-phase benchmarking program aimed at “peeling back the onion” to identify the areas with greatest opportunities for improvement and efficiency. The benchmarking program sets LADWP on a path toward modernization in a way that is cost effective and best serves customers.

The Functional Total Cost Study evaluated total labor, staffing and non-labor costs for key functions within the power and water systems, as well as customer service, human resources, information technology, purchasing, executive management and other areas that support the entire Department. The study used industry data to benchmark LADWP in comparison with investor-owned utilities (IOUs) and publicly-owned utilities (POUs) on a wide range of performance metrics.

The study found that LADWP achieved good results in a unique and challenging environment. LADWP operates a large, complex municipal water and power utility in a city with major challenges, including housing density, record-setting traffic congestion, rapid population growth, and strong stakeholder interests, the study said. Among LADWP’s unique challenges is the City Charter requirement to use internal labor to operate, maintain and upgrade water and electric infrastructure. The study found that using internal labor creates some cost challenges but also produces benefits.

In looking at operations and maintenance (O&M) costs, the study concluded that LADWP has reasonably controlled the growth of power and water O&M expenses over the long-term. The Power System’s total controllable O&M expenses rank about in the median, while the Water System’s O&M expenses are somewhat above the median.

In addition, the report noted that LADWP continues to maintain competitive water and power rates, reflected on customer bills, when compared to California peer utilities.

The study found that LADWP has one of the most aggressive power capital programs in the industry. Compared to both IOUs and POUs, LADWP’s spending is in the 1st quartile at $735 per electric customer, reflecting the utility’s heavy investment in replacing and transforming its aging infrastructure. High spending in capital programs is viewed positively in the industry as investment in replacing aging infrastructure, according to the study.

Similarly, LADWP’s Water System is “on a strong path to continue to invest and build for the future,” the study stated. “Water’s capital total spending is, and historically has been, near the highest among both IOU and POU peers, reflecting our continued focus on replacing aging infrastructure.” Water capital spending ranked in the 1st quartile at $665 per water customer.

LADWP has worked diligently to meet its own, and court-mandated customer service metrics, the study said. Call answer times have dramatically improved during the period evaluated in the study. LADWP has also continued to invest in branch offices, unlike other utilities, in an effort to be part of the local community and be more accessible to its customers.

However, the benchmarking results showed that total customer service costs are higher than peer utilities. Achieving better customer service could be addressed through hiring more staff, better resource management, and better use of automation.

Through benchmarking LADWP with peer utilities, the study found significant opportunities for improvement, and offered 17 key recommendations for controlling costs while removing obstacles toward modernization. With support of the RPA, LADWP identified five recommendations for initial focus.

“We recognized the value of all the recommendations but we knew the number was too large and broad to tackle all at once,” Adams said. “We believe the initial five key focus areas will make the biggest difference in meeting our goals and achieving the biggest benefits for ratepayers.”

These include understanding and addressing challenges in power distribution, resolving issues in human resources, increasing investment in information technology, better aligning and developing management, and offering an improved value proposition for attracting and retaining senior, mid- and first-line managers.

The benchmarking study compared LADWP with 26 public utilities in California and large power and water utilities in other states, as well as 24 private investor-owned utilities. The utilities selected were considered the most comparable to LADWP in terms of customer density, cost of living and labor, and the labor environment.

View a Report Summary to learn more:
2020 Benchmarking Study Phase 2 Summary

View the full report at the Office of Public Accountability

 




power worker on pole

LADWP Helps State Avoid Rolling Blackouts While Keeping Power Flowing for L.A. During Extreme Heat Waves

By Carol Tucker

Amid record-setting temperatures and soaring demand for electricity by sweltering Southland residents, LADWP provided nearly 43,700 megawatt-hours (MWh) of emergency power to state and local grid operators in California in August and September, as well as Arizona in August, to keep the power flowing for over 20 million customers.

Electric customers in Southern California and Arizona benefitted from the foresight of LADWP’s long-term energy planning for redundancy in generation and transmission, and dispatchable power that can be quickly ramped up to meet peak demand.

“It was very gratifying to be able to assist other utilities and help avoid more outages during this heat storm,” said LADWP General Manager and Chief Engineer Marty Adams. For over a century, LADWP has invested in developing and securing its own power generation and transmission resources. “We have always placed reliability first and foremost in our planning, maintenance and operations, even as we transition to a greater mix of renewable energy,” Adams said.

Photo by Chris Corsmeier

Over the Labor Day weekend, LADWP provided an estimated 11,215 MWh of excess power to the California Independent System Operator (CAISO), which operates much of the statewide grid powering communities and cities served by investor-owned utilities. CAISO was forced to declare Stage 2 emergencies on September 5 and 6, which meant power outages were possible due to increased demand and reduced supplies, but the state agency was able to avoid rolling blackouts during the September heat event.

From September 4-7, LADWP supplied emergency power to the municipal utilities of Burbank (550 MWh), Glendale (393 MWh), and Imperial Irrigation District (725 MWh).

Although the state did institute the first rolling blackout since 2001 on August 15, 2020 and to a lesser extent on August 16, 2020, LADWP was fully resourced and able to help CAISO avoid similar impacts. LADWP provided 10,450 MWh to CAISO from August 13-19 – primarily during peak periods in the late afternoon and evening when solar output is reduced, yet demand for electricity to power air conditioning and other customer uses remain high. LADWP also provided 2,755 MWh to Arizona communities served by the Salt River Project after a major transmission line failed, and smaller amounts to Glendale and the Imperial Irrigation District.

LADWP maintains in-basin and out-of-basin power plants, including 34 percent renewable energy, along with a vast transmission system representing 25 percent of the state’s power transmission assets. Like other public utilities in the state, LADWP benefits from being a “vertically integrated” utility, owning its generation, transmission, and distribution, and has not had to initiate rolling blackouts related to lack of power.

LADWP also owns and operates a significant amount of dispatchable power generation, such as the Castaic Pumped Storage Hydroelectric Plant in northern Los Angeles County. Dispatchable power can be ramped up quickly when needed to meet energy needs, especially as the sun goes down and solar power is no longer available.

While dispatchers were busy shipping energy to customers throughout the region and state, electric distribution crews worked around-the-clock to restore power to nearly 110,000 LADWP customers within 24 hours during the record-breaking heat storm over Labor Day weekend. Heat-related equipment failures triggered outages for more than 128,300 out of LADWP’s 1.5 million electric customers. The vast majority, about 85 percent of all affected customers, had their power restored within 24 hours, and about 99 percent were restored within the 48-hour timeframe allowed under a Level 3 storm situation.

Lineman working on transformer

An LADWP lineman works on a transformer during Labor Day heat storm. Photo by Chris Corsmeier

Most of the outages lasting 24 hours or longer were related to equipment failures at the neighborhood level, as distribution equipment became overheated and overloaded. Local distribution stations also overheated, leading to larger circuit outages affecting multiple neighborhoods. In some neighborhoods, equipment was running 200 percent of its maximum capacity due to extreme heat and demand.

“Restoring neighborhood outages affecting groups of five to 20 homes takes our crews much longer than larger circuit level or partial circuit outages, where a single crew may be able to restore power to 500 – 1,000-plus customers in the same amount of time,” said Andy Kendall, Senior Assistant General Manager of Power Construction, Maintenance, and Operations. In contrast, neighborhood outages typically take a single crew four to six hours to restore power to a much smaller group of customers.

To put these numbers in context, LADWP’s system fared much better compared to similar heat events in 2017 and 2018, Power System officials said. In 2017, a total of 317,700 customers experienced power interruptions.

LADWP officials attributed the improvement to aggressive investments in power infrastructure—approximately $3.7 billion from fiscal year 2016-17 through fiscal year 2019-20, with over $1 billion is budgeted this year. Moving forward, LADWP will look at ways to increase replacement targets in the next five years and analyze the impact of climate change on power demand.

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Featured photo by Chris Corsmeier




Retirements: April-May 2020

We extend our congratulations to all the employees who, after many years of dedicated service, are joining the ranks of LADWP retirees. For a complete archive  and the latest month of retirement listings, visit the Water and Power Employees Retirement Plan website.

As of April 2020

Adame, Mark S. Water Distribution
Avila, Esteban Power Supply Operations
Bejarano, Alejandro J. Metering Services
Brink, Donald A Power Construction and Maintenance
Chang, Monica L Water Distribution
Chen, William Power Planning, Development and Engineering
Darby-Rutland, Lucretia P. Customer Service Division
Deisch, Allen R. Water Distribution
Drew, Lonnie C. Information Technology Services
Estrella, Armando A. Power Transmission and Distribution
Foster, Daryl L. Power Transmission and Distribution
Gaw, Eddie K. Power Planning, Development and Engineering
Giese, John E. Power External Energy Resources
Gore, Brian Information Technology Services
Gotauco, Zita C. Finance and Risk Control
Gray, Kelly W. Fleet Services
Gutierrez, Nicanor J. Power Transmission and Distribution
Hill, Lynda J. Customer Service Division
Hill-Akhigbe, Debra M. Customer Service Division
Hoffman, Richard H. Supply Chain Management
Hsu, Frank N. Power Planning, Development and Engineering
Kochendarfer, Kenneth N. Power Transmission and Distribution
Lau, Chester M. Office of Sustainability
Lee, Morgan T. Power Planning, Development and Engineering
Lopez, Ismael A. Supply Chain Services
Loveland, Gregory A. Water Operations
Lowe, Jerry R. Water Operations
Loya, Susan M. Power Supply Operations
Madison, Zara C. Customer Service Division
Maryanski, Richard L. Fleet Services
Mc Andrew, Edward F. Security Services
Mc Daniel, Phyllis A. Customer Service Division
Mcqueen, Danny L. Water Distribution
Migliaro, Joseph B. Water Operations
Morales, Olivia Human Resources
Moser, Christopher Metering Services
Murdock, Virginia H. Water Operations
Nadle, Terrence H. Water Operations
Ogata, Laurel M. Human Resources
Partida , Luis A. Power Planning, Development and Engineering
Penalver, Francisco A. Integrated Support Services
Perez, Joel M. Power Transmission and Distribution
Reamey, Kenneth F. Energy Support Services
Robles, Crispino Power Construction and Maintenance
Romero, Ana R. Power Supply Operations
Rubin, Mark C. Retirement Plan Office
Saddler, Keith E. Water Distribution
Sanchez, Michael Integrated Support Services
Schiavo, David J. Water Distribution
Silic, Michael E. Power Construction and Maintenance
Skillens, Randy C. Power Supply Operations
Staffeldt, Troy A. Fleet Services
Surles, Rhonda M. Metering Services
Ta, Trung T. Power Construction and Maintenance
Tsai, Theresa C. Real Estate
Uribe, Bernardo Power Transmission and Distribution
Whitmore, Donald A. Supply Chain Services
Wicker, Claudette O. Customer Service Division

As of May 2020

Aros, James A. Metering Services
Babikian, Gabriel Water Operations
Bancale, Michael D. JFB Facilities Management
Carlos, Ferdinand C. Water Distribution
Catsoulas, Michael D. Power Construction and Maintenance
Chapman, Shawn D. Water Operations
Chiu, Sungly Power Planning, Development and Engineering
Clemens, David H. Power Construction and Maintenance
Coats, Aarne W. Water Operations
Constancio, Tina M. Customer Service Division
Corber, Randall E. Power Transmission and Distribution
Covington, Genela V. Metering Services
David, Jesus S. Metering Services
Devorss, Thayne B. Water Engineering
Gallegos, Marco G. Metering Services
Godoy, Thomas Supply Chain Services
Gomez, Douglas K. Power Transmission and Distribution
Gomez, John V. Supply Chain Services
Hamai, Gary A. Metering Services
Hour, Rom Power Construction and Maintenance
Huynh, Cecilia P. Water Operations
Huynh, Todd Water Distribution
Karr, Craig P. Metering Services
Kazman, Nisan H. Supply Chain Services
Lee, Henry C. Information Technology Services
Lewis, Cary T. Power Construction and Maintenance
Lockwood, Dirk B. Power Transmission and Distribution
Lopez, Martin Supply Chain Services
Lopez-Salvador, Juan J. Fleet Services
Luna, Gabriel C. Metering Services
Mc Neel, Tori S. Customer Services
Mcdevitt, James W. Power Construction and Maintenance
Mcmahon, Huong S. Power Supply Operations
Mendoza, Sergio Power Construction and Maintenance
Mosser, John L. Information Technology Services
Mosser, Maribelle S.. Corporate Safety and Environmental Services
O’Toole, Kevin J. Power Transmission and Distribution
Perez, Roberto Water Distribution
Petch, Wisarn Information Technology Services
Polnitz, Sylvia A. Power Construction and Maintenance
Quintero, Annette R. Power Construction and Maintenance
Raad, Antoine S. Power New Business Development
Ramirez, Gregory 0. Power Transmission and Distribution
Saboury, Massoud Real Estate
Sanchez, Eduardo M. JFB Facilities Management
Thompson, Dale I. Office of Sustainability
Ulibarri, Linda M. Power Transmission and Distribution
Underwood, Glenn C. Power Supply Operations
Vanderput, Dan P. Fleet Services
Warren, Sheldon J. JFB Facilities Management
Webb, Peter Water Distribution

 




Students Help LADWP and City Promote Conservation

By Walter Zeisl

For more than 10 years, students in grades 4-12 have helped LADWP and the City of Los Angeles promote good conservation practices and behaviors through colorful and creative art posters as part of the LADWP-Times in Education Program.

In fiscal year 2019-20,182 posters were submitted from schools in the service territory. The Times staff reviewed the posters selecting 79 finalists. A team of nine Department judges from the Communications and Public Affairs Division and Water Conservation Policy in the Water Resources Division evaluated the remaining posters digitally. First- through third-place awards for each grade were selected. From that pool, the overall Grand Prize winner was selected.

This year’s Grand Prize was captured by Jean Lee, a fifth-grade student from St. James Episcopal School. Her winning poster, which appeared in several large Times ads, depicts a whimsical train decorated with drawings related to water and energy conservation themes. The train travels through scenery of wind turbines and a tree with leaves shaped as recycling symbols. The poster features images of “The Drop” taking a five-minute shower on top of the train and controlling the handle of a water faucet. In the train window is a thermostat with a finger pointing to the off switch and the temperature set at 78 degrees.

With COVID-19 “Safer at Home” Emergency Order in place, this year’s judging took place virtually. The Department’s nine judges reviewed and scored the posters digitally, during three rounds (placements, ties, grand prize winner).

In order for students to participate in the contest, their teachers needed to enroll in the free Times in Education Program. Participating teachers received three guides, access to the Times digital edition, two Department conservation checklists and additional information.

The teachers’ guides, also available on the LADWP website, cover most Department related topics such as history, supply sources, renewable energy, conservation and utility careers. The guides are written using the newspaper as a living textbook.

According to the Times, the program reached 90,000 students in 2019-20. This is the Department’s largest education outreach program.




Cynthia McClain-Hill Elected President of LA Board of Water and Power Commissioners, Susana Reyes Elected Vice President

Attorney and public policy strategist Cynthia McClain-Hill was elected July 28, 2020 as President of the Board of Water and Power Commissioners, and Commissioner Susana Reyes, a retired LADWP customer service director for low-income programs and sustainability advisor to Mayor Eric Garcetti, was elected the Board’s Vice President. McClain-Hill replaces former U.S. Congressman Mel Levine, who has served as Board President since 2013—the longest-running term of any Board of Water and Power Commission President. Mr. Levine nominated both for their respective positions, which were approved today by the Board.

An advocate for racial and environmental justice with an outstanding record of service in the public and non-profit sectors, McClain-Hill has served as Vice President of the LADWP Board since September 5, 2018. She was appointed to the Board by Mayor Eric Garcetti and confirmed by the City Council on August 15, 2018.

“From the Police Commission to the DWP, Cynthia McClain-Hill has been unafraid to tackle our toughest challenges, giving her time, energy, resolve, and experience to the cause of a fairer, safer, more equitable Los Angeles,” said Mayor Garcetti. “As we endure and emerge from the COVID-19 crisis, I have no doubt that Cynthia will continue the bold and thoughtful leadership of Mel Levine as LADWP Board President, and help us push forward on the path to healthier communities and a more sustainable city.”

“I am greatly honored to serve as President of this Board and grateful for the support of Mayor Garcetti, members of the City Council, and my fellow Board members. This is a time of unprecedented challenges, as we work to build a stronger Los Angeles by achieving our goals for clean, reliable and sustainable water and energy in the midst of an international pandemic, financial crisis, and urgent cries for racial justice and equity in our city,” McClain-Hill said. “I am confident that working together, LADWP can surmount these challenges and come out a stronger, more inclusive organization that provides equity and fairness for our customers, communities, and employees in everything we do.”

As Managing Director of Strategic Counsel PLC, McClain-Hill leads the firm’s regulatory, land use and environmental law practices. She is a widely respected attorney and public policy strategist with an outstanding record of service. Prior to her appointment to the Board, she served on the City’s Police Commission and Community Redevelopment Agency. She is a past member of the California Coastal Commission, the California Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC), the CalEPA Environmental Justice Advisory Working Group, and the Los Angeles City Small and Local Business Advisory Committee. She served as president of the National Association of Women Business Owners in 2008-2009. Consistently named one of Southern California’s “Super Lawyers” based on surveys of 65,000 Los Angeles area attorneys, McClain-Hill ranks among the top five percent of the state’s practicing attorneys.

Outgoing President Levine said, “It has been a great honor for me to serve as President of the Board of Commissioners for the past seven years and I am very pleased to have nominated Cynthia McClain-Hill as the new Commission President and Susana Reyes as the new Vice President.  They will bring great energy and experience to their respective positions and they will also offer the perspective of members of communities which have been historically inadequately represented at a time when that perspective is urgently needed.  Here too, LADWP will help lead the way.”

LADWP General Manager and Chief Engineer Martin L. Adams said, “All of us at LADWP owe President Levine a tremendous debt of gratitude for his leadership and service over the past seven years.  He has led the Board during some of the Department’s most transformative and challenging times and has done so with wisdom, thoughtfulness, persistence and humor. This Department is stronger, because of Mel Levine’s steady leadership. Our newly elected Commission President Cynthia McClain-Hill is a strong, impactful leader with a toughness that enables her to get things done. I look forward to continuing to work with her, Vice-President Susana Reyes and the entire Board to accomplish great things for the Department and the City as we focus on transforming our water and power supplies to more sustainable resources, investing in infrastructure, and creating equity within our organization and the communities we serve.”

Newly elected Vice President Susana Reyes was appointed to the Board of Water and Power Commissioners by Mayor Garcetti and confirmed by the City Council on June 5, 2019. Reyes is the first Filipino-American and also the first LADWP retiree to sit on the Board. She previously served as the director of LADWP’s Low-Income Customer Access, a position that helped ensure low-income ratepayers could access financial assistance, discounts and rebates offered by the utility.  A public servant for over 33 years, she is the founder and CEO of AgilEngines LLC, an advocacy and consulting firm focused on community outreach and civic engagement strategies.

“I am humbled and honored by the trust instilled in me and I am excited to get to work as the new Vice President. The City of L.A. and LADWP are at a crossroads going through a movement moment. I envision opportunities for innovative and bold solutions for LADWP to serve the public more reliably, safely, and equitably and in new ways that will transform its culture and capacity for change. I will work to ensure the public trust through a system of transparency, public participation, and stakeholder collaboration,” said Reyes.

Reyes’ experience also includes working on Mayor Garcetti’s Sustainability team as a Senior Policy Analyst, where she helped oversee the implementation of Los Angeles’ first Sustainable City pLAn and secured a $1.7 million grant for the City from the California Air and Resources Board to help launch BlueLA — an EV car sharing pilot program in low-income communities. She is also an active member of the Sierra Club, and was elected to the organization’s first-ever all-female Executive Committee in 2017.  She serves on the Governing Board of the Sierra Nevada Conservancy on forest health and watershed issues and has served on the board of the L.A. League of Conservation Voters. Her work advancing equity and climate justice initiatives has earned her distinguished awards and recognitions.

To read the biographies of the Board of Water and Power Commissioners, click here.

 




Making Salt Grass Grow

Staff Finds Innovative Solution for Owens Lake Mitigation Project

By Jessica Johnson

Thanks to hard work, ingenuity, and a ‘can do’ attitude, LADWP met a tough deadline for successfully growing salt grass at Owens Lake—one of the approved methods for complying with stringent air quality requirements to combat dust and pollution at the long-dry lake.

LADWP’s Owens Lake Dust Mitigation Program is the largest dust control project in the country, successfully mitigating 99 percent of the dust from a 48.6 square-mile area of the exposed dry lake bed. Located roughly 220 miles from downtown Los Angeles, the Owens Lake Dust Mitigation Project has been ongoing since the early 2000s, and addresses the environmental impact of the Los Angeles Aqueduct system while also serving to protect the Owens Lake ecosystem.

Recently, after completing construction for approximately 122 acres – almost 110 football fields of managed vegetation – LADWP teams were put to the test again.  With a completion date of December 2017, LADWP had until 2019 to pass stringent annual performance compliance for managed vegetation required by the Great Basin Unified Air Pollution Control District (Great Basin). Great Basin allows two years from the construction completion date to grow enough vegetation to cover a minimum of 37 percent of a dust control area.

After the first full day of work, LADWP staff was able to successfully harvest 33 rolls of sod. The daily average increased to over 50 for the entire duration of the project. Photo by Adam Solis

After one year of growing vegetation at Owens Lake, the LADWP team realized the soil was still too salty to establish vegetation and started looking into ways to better grow the plants.

“Growing a salt grass sod farm would take three to five years. After discussions with biologists, local farmers, salt grass experts, and sports turf specialists, we decided sod was going to be the only way we would meet our regulatory compliance deadline and avoid fines of up to roughly $1.4 million per year,” said Adam Solis, LADWP Construction Manager for the project.

To support a project of this size, LADWP construction managers allocated staff from construction yards in Bishop, Independence, Mojave, and Los Angeles.

Before any transplanting and growing took place, LADWP staff had to address several factors from reoccurring drainage issues, lack of irrigation in harvest sites to finding the right equipment that would work for the unique terrain they were dealing with.

To address the drainage issues, LADWP crews restored approximately 5,800 linear feet of ditches and installed approximately 2,170 linear feet of subsurface drains to accelerate getting the salts out of the soil. LADWP then imported 10,000 cubic feet (1,000 truckloads) of clean sand that was spread over portions of the area in order to provide a clean base for plants to grow.

Executing multifaceted enhancement projects is not a new undertaking for LADWP, but working under a tight deadline wasn’t easy. In part because of the team’s “can do” attitude and efforts across multiple construction yards and management teams, it was announced by Great Basin in April 2020 that LADWP officially passed the annual performance compliance assessment in all managed vegetation locations on Owens Lake.

LADWP staff planted over 200,000 plugs and plants in bare areas to accelerate vegetation growth. Photo by Adam Solis

“Our team accomplished the impossible and avoided annual violation fines and potentially litigation,” said Jaime Valenzuela, LADWP Manager of Owens Lake Capital Development and Implementation.

He offered a special thanks needs to the Maintenance & Construction Helpers, Equipment Operators, Power Shovel Operators, Aqueduct and Reservoir Keepers, Heavy Duty Equipment Mechanics, Heavy Duty Truck Operators, C&M Supervisors, Labor Supervisors/ Resident Farming Experts, Design Engineers, Watershed Resource Specialists, Environmental Specialists, Hydrographers, and Engineers.

“They got it done with minimal consultant support,” Valenzuela said. Once fully up and running, LADWP staff was able to harvest and install a quarter-acre per day on average, and an area larger than a football field in one week. Since completing the installation, LADWP staff has been monitoring the vegetation and expects to watch it grow throughout the year.

 




In Memoriam: June-July 2020

LADWP extends its condolences to the families and friends of current and former employees who have recently passed.  Visit the Water and Power Retired Employees’ Retirement Plan website to view and download monthly notices of retirees and active employees who have passed away.

As of June 2020

Active

Guillermo Barajas, Jr., 43

 

Supply Chain Services

Retired
Carol L. Bozigian, 69 Power Distribution
Phillip Bustamante, 91 Water Operating Division
Lenwood L. Colin*, 85 Power Distribution
Bruce M. Crerar, 84 Supply Chain Services
James E. Eifert, 90 Customer Service
George J. Friedman*, 92 Power Design and Construction
George F. Gale, Jr., 79 Electrical Substation Construction
Gary Hashimura*, 67 Power Transmission and Distribution
Brent E. Hollingworth*, 82 Power Operations and Maintenance
William Jedkins, 94 Human Resources
Ann M. Kauf*, 79 Customer Service
Bruce E. Kibbe, 90 Power Design and Construction
Arline Y. Lew, 78 Information Technology Services
Hsueh C. Liao*, 70 Energy Support Services
Shizue A. Okazaki, 95  Accounting
Sylvia Ortiz, 100  Customer Service – Commercial
Nobuso Ota*, 96 Power Design and Construction
Abel Owens, 88 General Services
Harmel S. Ranu, 76 Power Transmission and Distribution
Theodore B. Sayegh, 87 General Services
Robert Silverii, 88 General Services
Richard J. Skaggs, 68 Facilities Maintenance
Dennis I.Uyehara, 86 Power Design and Construction
Robert Wasdorp, 69 Power Operations and Maintenance
Kenneth D. Waugh, 92 Power Desugn and Construction
Dorothy Yamaguchi*, 103 Customer Service
Richard Zubiate, 81 Water  Operating Division

As of July 2020

Active

Kevino J. Carpenter* 37

 

Water Distribution

Retired
Henry M. Aoki, 86 Power Design and Construction
Ronald C. Bourne, 75 Power Distribution
Jeffrey D. Childers, 71 Public Affairs
Daniel B. Connolly, 84 Power Operations and Maintenance
Simon J. Darensbourg, 67 Water Quality
Peter S. Jaskowiak*, 69 Power Supply Operations
Robert Kittner, 89 Power Support Services
David J. Kleindienst, 77 Power Support Services
John J. Kopernik, 73 General Services
Robert J. Landis, 86 Power Distribution
James Laros, 93 Human Resources
Sylvia Napolitana*, 80 Water Operating Division
Barbara S. Piper, 80 Customer Service
Irene P. Quevedo, 68 Customer Service
Neal L. Reynolds, 76 Power Distribution
Ichiro Sato*, 95 Management Information Services
Melvin L. Teter*, 73 Fleet Services
Donna P. Thornberry, 71 Water Quality
Tsutomu Umekubo, 89 Management Information Services
Gary H. Wong*, 87 PSSD Communication
Eric H. Zuniga, 80 General Services Fleet

*Late notice




In Memoriam: February-March 2020

LADWP extends its condolences to the families and friends of current and former employees who have recently passed.  Visit the Water and Power Retired Employees’ Retirement Plan website to view and download monthly notices of retirees and active employees who have passed away.

As of February 2020

Mohamed M. Abdel-Aal, 81 Energy Distribution Division
*Juan M. Arredondo, 89 Commercial Division
Joe L. Arellano, 67 Customer Service Division
Candelario Arriola, 94 Public Affairs
Boris A. Baydaline, 83 Power Design and Construction
Gloria F. Carone, 83 General Services
James P. Cooper, 95 Power Design and Construction
Mark G. Ehlers, 66 Water Distribution
Alfonso A. Estrada, 90 Energy Distribution
Thomas C. Hardman, 86 General Services
*Ronnie E. Haskell, 79 Power Operations and Maintenance
Jack H. Hooper, 99 General Services
Marie L. Hyatt, 94 Commercial
B. J. Kuykendall, 86 Power Operations and Maintenance
Leonard A. Lindenbaum, 96 Power Design and Construction
Bobby Logan, 82 Water Operating
Antonio E. Macaraeg, 84 Corporate Purchasing Services
Herbert T. Mack, 89 Power Operations and Maintenance
Robert B. Ross, 93 Energy Distribution
Charles S. Ward, 87 Conservation and Planning
Louis H. Winnard, 98 General Manager’s Office

*Late notice

As of March 2020

Sven J. Anderson, 93 Power Distribution
Dean R. Baquet, 86 Power Design and Construction
John Breaux, 72 Energy Distribution Administration
James 0. Briscoe, 99 Power Design and Construction
David M. Burke, 80 Power Design and Construction
Donald R. Cole, 89 Aqueduct
Richard E. Collins, 81 Power Design and Construction
John H. Colpitts, 93 Information Technology Services
Albert J. Culotta, 73 Power Transmission and Distribution
Charles M. Donaldson, 91 Conservation and Planning
Levio P. Donina, 95 Customer Service
Gerald M. Fancher, 78 Energy Distribution Station Maintenance
Barbara S. Fooks, 77 Information Technology Services
Daryl Grady, 83 General Services
Dorothy W. Hager, 91 Power Design and Construction
Yu Yu Hei, 81 Energy Distribution Station Maintenance
Bob S. Higa, 82 General Services Fleet
Terry K. Howe, 84 Power Design and Construction
James S. Ishiara, 78 Energy Distribution
Jay C. Kim, 84 Information Technology Services
Clarence R. Lindsey, 97 Power Operations and Maintenance
Robert F. M0rtensen, 84 General Services
Elliott J. Oliver, 67 Supply Chain Services
Edward P. O’Toole, 83 Integrated Support Services
Warren W. Polkinghorne, 74 Energy Distribution Station Maintenance
Charles K. Roth, 93 Power Operations and Maintenance
Harold G. Russ, 88 General Services
Joe G. Smith, 99 Power Design and Construction
*Raymond E. Smurr, 78 Water Operations
John M. St. Amant, 91 General Services
Jeny R. Thigpen, 80 Energy Distribution Administration
Lillian M. Thompson, 98 Power Operations and Maintenance
Matthew W. Weathington, 78 Water Services
Charles E. Whaiion, 79 Power Transmission and Distribution
*Paul A. Wight, 92 Power Distribution and Construction

*Late notice




Retirements: June-July 2020

We extend sincere congratulations to all the employees who, after many years of dedicated service, are joining the ranks of LADWP retirees. For a complete archive and the latest month of retirement listings, visit the Water and Power Employees Retirement Plan website.

As of June 2020

Allen, Christopher E. Water Operations
Anderson, Harold M. Power Supply Operations
Antonio, Manuel A. Power Supply Operations
Aragon, Richard A. Water Distribution
Ayers, Valerie L. Power Transmission and Distribution
Barnes, Daniel Z. Power Transmission and Distribution
Barraza, Steven Metering Services
Berry, Gladys D. Customer Service Division
Blanchfield, Thomas G. Power Safety and Training
Bolotsky, Larisa L. Energy Support Services
Bonich, Hector J. Metering Services
Branche, Eric G. Customer Service Division
Calderon, Lawrence M. Asset Management Services
Campen, David C. Power Supply Operations
Carillo, Marlo A. JFB Facilities Management
Carone, Anthony M. Integrated Support Svcs
Carter, Tijuana Power Transmission and Distribution
Castillo, Robert Business Support Services
Chan, Angela K. Water Distribution
Chavis, Edmund J. JFB Facilities Management
Clutario Jr, Pascual L. Power Supply Operations
David, Elizabeth P. Power Supply Operations
De Santos, Luis Supply Chain Services
De Vera, Rolando C. Power Supply Operations
Degarcia, Alma G. Water Executive
Dimacale, Joel A. Customer Services
Donabedian, Bruce R. Supply Chain Services
Ductoc, Carlos M. Metering Services
Fajack, Michael S. Water Engineering
Franco, Alfonso Supply Chain Services
Garcia, Edward D. Information Technology Services
Garcia, Jose C. Metering Services
Garcia, Margie A. Power Planning, Development and Engineering
Gokbudak, Brent F. Marketing Director
Gomez, Gustavo Water Distribution
Gomez, Jacinto Water Distribution
Gonzales, Norma L. Human Resources
Gonzalez, Rosa M. Business Support Services
Graham, Norman W. Fleet Services
Green, Mark N. Power Construction and Maintenance
Hansen, Jeffrey S. Power Transmission and Distribution
Harries, Gary M. Power Supply Operations
Harwell, Glen D. Supply Chain Services
Haynes, Claudius Power Transmission and Distribution
Heitkemper, Joseph J. Power New Business Development
Hendricks, Gwendolyn Customer Service Division
Hidalgo, Alicia A. Supply Chain Services
Higa, Glenn H. Power Supply Operations
Holcombe, Lance T. Metering Services
Hollier, Phyllis G. Customer Service Division
Horton, Bruce L. Water Operations
Hsieh, Helena Information Technology Services
Hunt, David B. JFB Facilities Management
Ignacio, Jose B. Power Planning, Development and Engineering
Jacquez, Manuel Public Affairs
James Iii, William M. Power Construction and Maintenance
Jeka, Roger A. Water Operations
Jimenez, Leticia C. Labor Relations
Kagawa, Patrick Metering Services
Kauppi, Barbara J. Water Operations
Kim, Alice E. Supply Chain Services
King, Dwight L. Power Supply Operations
Kinsey, Kenneth W. Information Technology Services
Kurowski, Michael R. Water Operations
Kwan, Tom C. Supply Chain Services
Laskowsky, Katherine B. Water Distribution
Leitch, Crawford J. Power Safety and Training
Leonardo, Adolfo U. Power Construction and Maintenance
Lopez. Jose R. JFB Facilities Management
Lopez, Ramiro L. JFB Facilities Management
Luna, Craig G. Real Estate
Lundquist, David L. Fleet Services
Maclaughlin, Ranol G. Fleet Services
Manigbas, Leo V. Power Supply Operations
Manookian, Nvart Information Technology Services
Marin, Robert A. Power Construction and Maintenance
Marroquin, Luis H. Power Construction and Maintenance
Marsh, Andre Security Services
Mccreary, Dwayne E. Information Technology Services
Merkin, Steven E. Metering Services
Micciche, Joseph M. Power Transmission and Distribution
Morris, Lendard N. Security Services
Mosley, Lillian L. Customer Billing
Navarro, Patricia T. Supply Chain Services
Okhanes, Bedros D. Human Resources
Ordono, Rodolfo R. Water Distribution
Orona, Michael E. Fleet Services
Panganiban, Oliver M. Water Distribution
Pantig, Yolanda S. Finance and Risk Control
Pantoja, Chris Metering Services
Pei, Wen Information Technology Services
Pereira, Laveria M. Power Transmission and Distribution
Pimentel, Noe Water Operations
Powell, Leland E. Water Operations
Quon, Wilson S. Customer Service Division
Rangel, Benito Water Distribution
Reveles, Thomas L. Water Distribution
Rice, Charles S. Power Construction and Maintenance
Ricks, Natalie J. Supply Chain Services
Roesch, Daniel J. Fleet Services
Roman, Luciano C. Information Technology Services
Roman, Rossana D. Power Supply Operations
Salazar, Porfirio Metering Services
Salazar, Randolph S. Water Operations
Sanchez, Karen Metering Services
Santistevan, Anthony P. Power Transmission and Distribution
Schacht, Phillip R. Energy Support Services
Seeley, Kenneth C. Power Construction and Maintenance
Shirado, Joyce General Manager’s Office
Silva, Robert P. Power Transmission and Distribution
Sotelo-Navarro, Jo-Del S. Business Support Services
Stallings, Wayne E. Supply Chain Services
Sterling, William N. Cpd Industrial Programs
Stones, Aleida L. Metering Services
Suthi, Soon Power Construction and Maintenance
Tadesse, Zenaye A. Power New Business Development
Tashiro, Lisa S. Public Affairs
Taylor, Larry D. Power Transmission and Distribution
Tham, Paul C. Power Planning, Development and Engineering
Thompson, Judith M. Information Technology Services
Tsuda, Douglas S. Information Technology Services
Tsui, Ta C. Information Technology Services
Vu, Nam H. Water Engineering
Vuong, Tri V. Power Construction and Maintenance
Ward, Michael P. Fleet Services
Warren, William J. JFB Facilities Management
Wong, Danny W. Power Construction and Maintenance
Wong, Edward S. Water Distribution
Wright, Stephen C. Fleet Services
Zambory, John P. Water Operations
Zepeda, Ruben A. Water Distribution

As of July 2020

Adajar, Gilbert Power Supply Operations
Aguayo, Nathan Water Quality
Dobson, Kelly M. Information Technology Services
Gomez, Arturo Power Transmission and Distribution
Gonzalez, Daniel F. Water Distribution
Henry, William B. Metering Services
Howard, Charles L. Water Distribution
Kong, Chang C. Power New Business Development
Krick, Janet L. Power Planning, Development and Engineering
Lee, Raymond J. Accounting and Financial Reporting
Lopez, David Water Distribution
Martinez, Xavier Power Planning, Development and Engineering
Merideth, Gregory C. JFB Facilities Management
O’Malley, John A. Power Construction and Engineering
Paramo, Alvaro B. Fleet Services
Phillips Jr, Paul P. Power Supply Operations
Quintal, Douglas K. Power Transmission and Distribution
Ramirez, Nick E. Water Distribution
Sanchez, Benito M. Power Transmission and Distribution
Saunders, Dane C. Water Distribution
Sirody , Robert Power Transmission and Distribution
Webb, Amy L. Water Engineering
Wilson, Leonard L.

Worgan, Paula N.

Energy Support Services

Customer Service Division




In Memoriam: April-May 2020

LADWP extends its condolences to the families and friends of current and former employees who have recently passed.  Visit the Water and Power Retired Employees’ Retirement Plan website to view and download monthly notices of retirees and active employees who have passed away.

As of April 2020

Allan D. Anderson, 90 Conservation and Planning
Walter H. Blank, 77 Electric Substation Construction
Vernon Bowman, 92 Power Design and Construction
*Arthur W. Calrow, 77 Fleet Services
Ronald E. Cornell, 70 Power Transmission and  Distribution
*James J. Dau, 91 Power Design and Construction
Samuel D. Drake, 82 General Services
Willie D. Knight, 76 Energy Distribution Supply
*John T. Lambert, 82 Energy Distribution Administration
*George R. Lear, 98 General Services
Peter G. Lee, 80 Energy Services Executive Office
Robert M. Lopez, 83 Power Operations and Maintenance
Harriet L. Mabon, 75 Customer Service
Vincent P. Martin, 84 E&OS Executive Office
*Mary L. McCoy, 87 Power Operations and Maintenance
Ned W. McElwain, 74 Water Distribution
Cornelius W. Nealy, 80 Power Distribution
*James R. Orosel, 76 Power Distribution
Edward A. Slattery, 99 City Attorney
Terry K. Takeda, 78 General Manager’s Office
Victor Vega, Jr., 87 Power Operation and Maintenance
*Hubert Wedlow, 85 Energy Distribution Division
Kurt J. Weingartner, 78 Water Supply
Juan M. Zurita, 77 General Services

As of May 2020

Kevork P. Armen, 74 Power Operation and Maintenance
*Margaret Arreola, 78 Accounting
*Leola I. Burke, 94 Customer Service
*Diane L. Cleary, 91 Power Distribution
David S.  Freeman, 94 General Manager’s Office
Joe G. Garcia, 102 Power Design and Construction
*Bonny R. Henderson, 71 General Services Fleet
Jess J. Herrera, 94 Power Design and Construction
Arthur F. Jones, 92 Energy Distribution Executive
 *Edson P. Jones, 92  Aqueduct
*Velma M. Moore, 86 City Attorney
Yoshiharu Nakamura, 84 Water Distribution
*Leo Nobles, 88 Management Service Division
*Donald S. Ordway, 62 Customer Service
Americo Pizzo, 100 Water Engineering Design
Odd Reiersen, 86 Power Distribution Division
Verne R. Reinmuth, 94 Power Operations and Maintenance
Richard A. Reyes, 91 Power Operations and Maintenance
Ruthie Russell, 84 Customer Service
*William E. Schnadt, 92 Customer Service
Stanley E. Smith, 76 Bulk Power
Gerald T. Strawn, 93 ESS Construction
James C. Stricklett, 88 Power Distribution Division
*Rose M. Tafoya, 95 Information Technology Services
Clarence Zurita, 88 Water Operating Division

*Late notice