Wire to Wire

Mark Julian (center right), vice president, Utility Operations, presents the Excellence Award to Jim Sears, president, Maryland Operations, as Potomac Edison employees gather around for a group photo.

March 5, 2018

Potomac Edison has invited Mark Julian, vice president, Utility Operations, to its recent quarterly leadership meetings. So it wasn’t too surprising when Mark was in attendance at the 2018 kick-off meeting in mid-February in Frederick, Md.

What did serve as a special surprise for Potomac Edison employees came in a box that Mark brought with him to the meeting. It contained the FirstEnergy Utilities 2017 Excellence Award – presented to the best performing operating company in recognition of performance and leadership in employee safety, service reliability, customer satisfaction and finance.

“Potomac Edison employees earned this award with their hard work and commitment throughout 2017,” Mark says. “We track performance in a wide range of areas on a quarterly basis. Potomac Edison led the rankings at the end of each quarter – which was a first in the 12 years that FEU has been presenting this award.”

Winning Performance

FEU looks at 15 performance metrics in determining the winner of the Excellence Award. Here are Potomac Edison’s 2017 operational highlights:

  • Employee Safety – achieved stretch-level performance in OSHA-recordable incident and Chargeable Motor Vehicle Accident rates; and target level in Days Away, Restricted Time (DART) rate.
  • Service Reliability – reached stretch level in SAIDI, CAIDI and transmission outage frequency (100-kilovolt and above); and target in SAIFI.
  • Finance – managed cost owner operations & maintenance, cost owner capital and settled capital at stretch level.
  • Customer Satisfaction – provided stretch performances in streetlight repairs, storm estimated time of restoration, meter read rate and meter read error rate.

Jim Sears, president, Maryland Operations, accepted the honor on behalf of approximately 480 Potomac Edison employees. “I’m proud to be a part of such a talented and dedicated team,” Jim says. “Knowing all of the efforts that our employees put forth last year, it’s extremely gratifying to bring this award to Potomac Edison for the first time.”

After challenging for the award in recent years, Jim says that employee efforts in the safety area put Potomac Edison over the top in 2017. “We had the best performance in terms of OSHA-recordable incident rate and chargeable motor vehicle accidents in company history,” he says. “The real driving force was the focus and engagement of the entire workforce in watching out for one another. We work together to foster a culture of safety by keeping it at the forefront of everything we do.”

Potomac Edison also performed well in the customer satisfaction, reliability and financial areas (see sidebar for details). “The key to serving our customers is being responsive,” Jim says. “Everyone contributes to those efforts – from reading meters in a timely manner to repairing power outages quickly and safely to developing capital projects designed to help us maximize reliability and customer service.”

In addition to operational performance, the Excellence Award recognized Potomac Edison employees for donating their time and money to support a variety of community initiatives in western Maryland and the eastern West Virginia panhandle. For example, contributions to the annual Harvest for Hunger food drive have nearly doubled – in terms of meals per employee – since 2015.