Local 21 Members Search Out Cost Savings For Public




Their mission – if they choose to accept it – is to investigate ways to save the public’s money. 

They are the Utility Electrical and Control Systems Engineering Team, composed of Members from Local 21’s Engineers Society and Professional Managers Association.

The team is headed up by John Brosnon, Electrical and Control Systems Engineering Unit Manager at the Santa Clara Valley Water District and Member of PMA.

The Water District’s Electrical and Control Systems Team takes their job to heart – they play detectives to save taxpayer and rate-payer money.  Recently, together with the District’s Asset Management Team, the unit assessed District equipment and found that the scheduled replacement of three motor control centers at the Penitencia Water Treatment Plant could be deferred due to their reliability and consistent maintenance of that system.  By extending the life of the equipment, John and his crew saved the District $2 million.

“I have a great team of dedicated, talented, skilled members to accomplish day-to-day challenges,” said John, a 12-year District employee. “We are satisfied when we meet customer demand and keep water, keep electricity, keep controls going 24/7.”

John manages a group of engineers in ES: James Bohan, Pari Khosraviani, Thomas Lawrence, Brendan Maher, David Mar, Rod Ramirez, Jeff Reid, Ken Sakai, Mae Siendo, Kelvin Tran, and Willen Wong.

The Water District provides clean drinking water, flood protection and stream stewardship across Santa Clara County.

With several flood protection areas, dams, reservoirs, and water treatment plants, the District uses a lot of electricity.  One of the team’s responsibilities is energy management.  The District partners with 15 agencies across the state to form the California Independent System Operators. The Joint Powers Authority allows the agencies to manage power assets and loads and to get much lower electricity rate than using PG&E.

John estimates that the energy management program saved the Water District $1.5 million in energy costs for 2017. Since 2009, the District has saved nearly $7 million by registering an average electricity rate of 8 cents per kilowatt hour compared to PG&E’s rate of 13 cents.

“Efficiency is a very powerful tool.  It’s a commitment to the public, to get a return on their investment,” he said.

The team of ES and PMA Members is a prime example of public employees working to protect public resources.