CONTACT: WAPA – Lisa Meiman, mediarelations@wapa.gov, 720-962-7411

LAKEWOOD, Colo. – Department of Energy (DOE) Deputy Secretary Mark W. Menezes visited Western Area Power Administration at the organization’s Headquarters office in Lakewood to update staff on DOE activities and acknowledge the work that has been done by WAPA during the pandemic.

“Returning almost $277 million to the U.S. Treasury this year is remarkable. Everyone should be very proud,” said Menezes during a virtual all-employee meeting. “As you all know, energy is the basic component of any successful economy. A strong economy drives national security. Everything you do at WAPA helps the U.S. economy and national security.”

The Deputy Secretary also discussed DOE’s mission in the time of COVID-19, assuring employees that their health and safety were the agency’s top priorities and as employees are returning to the workplace, it will be a safe and healthy environment. He also lauded WAPA’s pandemic response.

“The WAPA pandemic plan was impressive. We sent it to other organizations within DOE, including the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). Then FERC forwarded the plan to all utilities in its jurisdiction as a model for others to emulate. Hats off to all of you for that work,” Deputy Secretary Menezes said. 

The Deputy Secretary also answered several questions from employees at the meeting, ranging from physical and cyber risks to the transmission system, diversity and inclusion, defense-critical energy infrastructure, new energy technology and research, to the California Independent System Operator request for an emergency order, the criticality of vegetation management around power lines and battery storage. 

Administrator and CEO Mark A. Gabriel thanked Deputy Secretary Menezes for visiting during these challenging times. “We greatly appreciate the support you and the rest of DOE have provided us whether it be authorizing crews to drive their vehicles home during the pandemic, to defending our annual budget to ensuring we have the tools and equipment we need to keep the transmission system safe and reliable. We could not be as successful without the partnership and support from DOE.” 

After the virtual all-employee meeting, the Deputy visited the Electric Power Training Center, WAPA’s one-of-a-kind training center that gives utility professional hands-on training and experience on a miniature power system. The center was able to initiate virtual learning for the first time during the pandemic. 

“WAPA figured out how to continue to train people during this pandemic. There is a bit of magic going on here at WAPA,” said Deputy Secretary Menezes. “Under this Administration, the U.S. is back to number one in oil and natural gas and number two in renewable energy in the world. All of you at WAPA are part of those achievements.”

Mark Gabriel and Mark Menezes sit 6 feet apart and wear masks

Administrator and CEO Mark A. Gabriel and Energy Deputy Secretary Mark W. Menezes host a virtual all-employee meeting in Lakewood, Colorado, Oct. 6. 


About WAPA: Western Area Power Administration annually markets and transmits more than 25,000 gigawatt-hours of clean, renewable power from 57 federal hydroelectric powerplants owned and operated by the Bureau of Reclamation, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and International Boundary and Water Commission in 15 western and central states. It is part of the Department of Energy. Follow us on Twitter @WesternAreaPowr or visit the website at www.wapa.gov.  ​

Last modified on September 12th, 2023