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Ron Gallegos, Manager (26 years with M&O, manager 22 years)
32 technicians and support personnel

Electrical Craft Shops are comprised of Electrical (includes back-up emergency generators); Industrial Arts Repair; Audio Visual; Electronics; Business Machines Repair; Fire Extinguisher Service; Elevators (inspections by City of Albuquerque and service handled by a contractor); and Technology Infrastructure.

Electrical Departments in all school districts have long been under pressure to keep the lights on. No lights, no school. But the electrical system of a school district the size of APS has continuously grown in volume and complexity, most remarkably since the introduction of technology and a greater focus on energy conservation. It’s not just about keeping the lights on anymore. Smart boards have replaced blackboards and computers and their endless peripherals are now as much classroom fundamentals as pencil and paper used to be back when providing electrical power to classrooms was straightforward. And while technology throughout schools and administrative facilities has demanded more electricity, the electrical industry has concurrently introduced more sophisticated energy technology and products, as well as ceased to manufacture (as federally directed) lamps and fixtures needed to work with APS’
thousands of ballasts and main electrical distribution panels. A third ball thrown into the juggling mix is the heightened need to reduce energy use in respect to environmental preservation and saving costs without conceding on providing classrooms that are comfortable, safe, and favorable to learning.

Yet, APS’ Electrical Department manages to juggle the constantly transforming balls in meeting the ever evolving challenges. Dropping a ball is not an option! M&O electricians are responsible for guaranteeing properly wired and illuminated classrooms, computer labs, libraries, and gyms that support students’ focused attention and academic success. While the sophisticated but out of sight electrical systems take backstage to today’s high tech learning tools, the juice that fires up the technology abruptly takes center stage when the electronics don’t turn on. The Electrical Department is dedicated to never allowing electrical hiccups all the while using the least about of wattage possible; it is an inspired endeavor, but vital to saving APS resources and Mother Earth.

The Industrial Arts Repair Shop provides the students with well-maintained and safe equipment and tools for a hands-on industrial trades learning environment. Shop technicians service a wide array of teaching apparatus that includes science equipment; microscopes; scales and balances; sewing machines; paper cutters; kilns; potting wheels; ice machines and appliances; auto, welding, and wood shop equipment; and numerous other pieces of instructional related machinery. And the Fire Extinguisher Shop is charged with keeping the District’s fire extinguisher equipment up to code. The Shop is 100% self-sufficient (no work contracted out) and entirely PM with the exception of vandalism and theft of extinguishers. Lastly, the Technology Infrastructure Coordinator, a journeyman electrician, coordinates and synchronizes the installation of new electrical infrastructure for technology systems, as well as mechanic and electronic equipment, throughout the District.


Lighting retrofits resulted in a $33,587 rebate from PNM

Replacing high energy lighting systems with energy efficient systems at various APS schools earned a generous rebate from PNM and saved 439,304 kilowatts of electricity.

Programmable intermatic time clocks save time, effort, and money

The Department launched a new programmable time clock system at Cibola High School. Operated through the APS Intranet, it allows technicians to program lighting from their laptops in minutes. Special requests from the schools for lighting a night game will no longer require technicians to visit the site. Beginning with the high schools, installing the data lines and clocks will be conducted in-house throughout the District.

Electrical re-lighting at Reginald Chavez Elementary School 100% complete

As limited Senate Bill 9 funds are needed in converting magnetic ballast to electronic solid state and T-8 lamps District wide, saving 10 watts per lamp, progress is made every year, albeit slowly. The sooner the District can completely transition to T-8 electronics, the more energy as well as Operational dollars will be saved.

Coordinated installation of digital marquee signs at several District schools

More and more schools (three to five a year) are electing to replace manual marquee signs with digital marquees which provide ease in promoting upcoming special events and programs. Owned and paid for by the schools, the marquees are installed strictly by qualified contractors who work under the direction of the Electrical Department.

M&O’s Lincoln Building exterior lighting retrofitting in progress

The Electrical Department is in the process of retrofitting the exterior lighting at M&O with 80 watt LED fixtures. To date, approximately 30% of the lighting has been converted from the high energy 400 watt fixtures. The Department hopes to complete approximately 5% every year until the entire complex has been converted to LED lighting.

Added electrical responsibility of new facilities

 APS expanded physically in 2013-14 adding facilities that the Electrical Department is responsible for maintaining:

• Del Norte High School — Industrial Fine Arts building
• South Valley Academy (Charter School) — administration building, classrooms, and Media Center
• New softball field accessory buildings at Sandia High School
• Montessori of the Rio Grande Elementary School — instructional rooms
• Sandia High School — classroom building
• Inez Elelmentary School — cafeteria and Fine Arts building

Energy efficient LED lighting installed in all new buildings

Only LED lighting, interior and exterior, is now being installed in all new buildings and total renovations. A conversion from existing interior lighting to LED, however, is more costly as it requires a complete system change. (Note following Highlight)

Converting from florescent lighting to LED in existing construction

The Department has made a concerted move toward converting existing florescent lighting to LED throughout the District. As old fixtures go out, they are being replaced with LED lighting. 2013-14 fiscal year projects completed:

  • Ernie Pyle Middle School – gym and exterior lighting
  • Marie Hughes Elementary School – exterior lighting
  • Approximately five exterior fixtures at other APS sites

The 10 or 20 watt LED fixtures save approximately 30-50% energy over the 75 watt high pressure sodium outdoor fixtures they are replacing, without compromising safety. And a 34 watt indoor florescent lamp can be replaced by a 14 watt LED and the lumens output is very close to identical of the florescent lamp. In addition to wattage saved, the replacement fixtures qualify for PNM rebates. To switch out functioning systems for LED is desirable and on the “wish list” as it requires funding.

Replacement of T-12 incandescent light bulbs with T-8 florescent bulbs continues

The Department is working toward converting from T-12 incandescent bulbs to energy efficient T-8 florescent lamps District wide. However, as a costly complete system change is required, the task is slowly advancing. The Department installed 1,000 T-8 ballasts in the 2013-14 fiscal year bringing the District conversion to date to approximately 5%.

Assisted with new irrigation system at McKinley Middle School

The necessity of a major upgrade in the irrigation at the school required Electric Department electricians to run the necessary wire and electric pole.

Elevator PM inspections and service performed faster

Elevator work orders realized a 26% improvement in the time to complete work in the 2013-14 fiscal year, the first improvement since 2011.


Audio Visual Shop working more and faster

Shop technician realized an increase of 48.4% more work orders yet a decrease of 29% in time to complete and close the WOs.

PM programs (on-going)

Government mandated PM work includes:
• Fire extinguisher, sprinkler, and alarm inspection
• Fire suppression systems
• Elevator (quarterly) inspection and service (monthly inspections performed by City of Albuquerque)
• Emergency generators inspection (twice a year)
Not government mandated PM is performed in-house:
• Replacement of high energy systems with energy and cost effective systems throughout the District. (See following Special Challenge)

Special Challenge/Issue

Struggling to perform PM due to lack of manpower

Two two-man crews are assigned only lighting retrofit work (energy saving electrical systems improvement); they never perform reactive WOs. They are assigned other PM work when retrofit work slows down, but regrettably it is a rare occurrence. More manpower is needed to increase electrical preventive maintenance.

Through APS Risk Management, Hartford Steam Boiler Inspection and Insurance Company conducted an audit on claims filed by M&O: a failed transformer and a failed bus duct (feeds power to a high rise building) at City Center. As a result of the audit, the claims adjustor recommended that all oil fill transformers be tested and inspected every five years. It would involve performing infrared scanning of the equipment at a cost of approximately $1,000 apiece and there are one to four per site, depending on school size. The Department has the equipment and skill to perform the inspections but, unfortunately, lacks the resources. Departing electricians, six in recent years, are not replaced – the jobs eliminated rather than filled.


Status of 2013-14 Fiscal Year Goals

  • Fine tune SchoolDude scheduling to track work performed by outside contractors in all Electrical Shops (already completed with elevators). Completed
  • The successful completion by all electricians of the 16 hours training (required every three years) regarding the new electrical codes applicable January 2014 – December 2016. The National Electrical Code, the electricians’ bible, provides new codes and amendments to old codes. Every electrician tech, Supervisor, and Manager is responsible for complying with codes in the installation of systems.Completed
  • Continue retrofitting entire electrical switch gear panels; in older schools panels are past life expectancy. Completed at Mission and Comanche Elementary Schools. Goal of accomplishing at least two a year is on-going; progress made every year as funding allows.
  • Retrofit the lighting at Atrisco Elementary School.Canceled due to pending construction at the school.
  • Continue retrofitting the M&O parking lot lighting. In progress/on-going (see highlight above).
  • Complete the installation of 32 individual electrical outlets in M&O parking lot to accommodate diesel service vehicles. Completed
  • Implement a digital bar code system in Fire Extinguisher Shop to better track inventory. It will be performed in-house by the two Shop technicians. Completed
  • Upgrade all elevators at City Center. In progress (50% Completed)

2014-15 Fiscal Year Goals

  • Convert Alvarado Elementary School’s exterior and interior lighting to energy efficient LED lighting.
  • Complete the update of all elevators at City Center.
  • Complete (or be near completion) the installation of programmable intermatic time clock systems at all high schools. (See Highlight above.)
  • Complete the total LED retrofit (interior and exterior) of Alvarado Elementary School.
  • Convert parking lot fixtures to LED at A. Montoya and San Antonito Elementary Schools and Roosevelt Middle School (34 total fixtures).
  • Upgrade electrical systems at two aging school sites (planning begun).
  • Overhaul at least two (to be determined) old elevators to be new code compliant.
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