Richard H. “Woody” Woodward is a 30-year veteran at Nevada
Power, including 23 years as team leader of its revenue protection department. A charter member of IURPA, he is designer and Webmaster of its web site. His vast experience means that he is often asked to make presentations and write articles for utility trade magazines. It’s also why he is Top Gun in the war against Internet energy theft.

What kind of questions does Woody receive? “They cover the waterfront,” he says. “How to set up an RP department? Pay scales for investigators and supervisors? What expenses can I bill a customer who’s been caught stealing? How can we nail crooks who post signs on our poles and make offers on E-Bay to buy a pamphlet titled Free Electricity? In Romania, we are switching to A-Base meters; can you help us set standards for metering and revenue protection?”

Woody’s reward for helping RP managers find solutions is when 10 to 12 people respond to the questioner on the same day. “I’ve learned that revenue protectors all are in the same boat, but have different ways to handle problems. When they receive a dozen responses, they can pick one or two solutions that best solve their dilemma.”

Woody’s views are shared by many RP managers. “It’s frustrating that many utilities do not take a strong stand against power theft. They bury the cost along with other factors like line loss, which means the cost is often passed on to the customer. However, we hear that more and more PUCs are insisting that utilities face the problem. If your utility is not proactive in combating theft, you’ll find lots of ammunition on the IURPA web site to help convince your senior management to take a new look at the issue.”

Most questions and responses are electric-utility oriented, but questions also come from gas, water and cable utilities, reflecting IURPA’s membership. The common denominator is deterring theft of revenue. Much of iurpa.org. is available to the public, but sensitive information is restricted to dues-paying members who are issued a user ID and password.

“IURPA membership is the best value on Planet Earth. For $50, you might get help from a peer 1,000 miles away that saves your company $50,000. That’s a pretty good ROI. So, if you’re not a member, get out your credit card and log on. Within minutes, you will join an elite group and tap into a gold mine of information,” says Woody.

Reprinted from Utility News, published by E.J. Brooks Company, Livingston, NJ