The foundation of our Laboratory was the benchmarking effort undertaken to assess our performance. We aggressively benchmarked our power operation and maintenance program to measure our performance and compare ourselves both internally and with hydropower facilities in North America.
What is Benchmarking?
Benchmarking is a continuous formal process of measuring, understanding, and adapting industry best practices that lead to superior performance.
We identified seven "prime" benchmarks from an initial list of over 500, dealing with the costs of our service, use of our human resources, and the efficiency of our operations. We chose benchmarks used by other hydroelectric utilities to analyze performance and those recognized as meaningful industry-wide performance indicators.
The seven prime benchmarks were:
The results of this analysis are contained in the Benchmarking Data Book.
- Wholesale Firm Rate measures the wholesale firm customer rate for one kilowatt hour of delivered energy.
- Production Cost as a Percentage of Wholesale Firm Rate measures the portion of the wholesale firm rate attributable to Reclamation's production costs.
- Production Cost per Kilowatt hour (kWh) measures the costs associated with producing one kWh of energy.
- Workforce Deployment - Full Time Equivalents (FTEs) per Unit and Megawatt is a measure of staff levels per generating unit and per installed capacity.
- Availability Factor measures the percentage of total hours that a unit is in working order and available to generate power.
- Forced Outage Factor measures the percentage of time a unit is out of service due to plant equipment failure.
- Scheduled Outage Factor measures the percentage of time a unit is scheduled out of service for maintenance.