Bonneville Power

  www.bpa.gov
  www.bpa.gov

Bonneville Power Reviews

Updated October 20, 2014
Updated October 20, 2014
37 Reviews
2.3
37 Reviews
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Steve Wright
20 Ratings

Employee Reviews

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  1.  

    Wasteful Company - Nice People

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - BA III in Vancouver, WA
    Current Employee - BA III in Vancouver, WA

    I have been working at Bonneville Power as a contractor (less than an year)

    Pros

    The hours are flexible, the environment is flexible, and overall I like it. BPA is working hard to make positive changes but it's slow. People (90%) are generally very nice which is important to me. The other 10% are a little scary. There are a lot of very sharp contractors with no authority to make decisions which creates waste. The environment is collaborative.

    Cons

    Inappropriate behavior is tolerated and it's a predominantly male culture (you do the math). It seems like leaders are afraid to do anything because they're afraid of how it may look or they just don't know how. Someone I work with berated me (and others) several times in a public forum. When I raised concerns nothing was done until another person witnessed it and complained about it. The root cause wasn't addressed -- just covered up. This person is still there.

    It's difficult to effect change. Because of the recent hiring issues there aren't enough FTE's to direct the current work load but it's getting better slowly. The work load balance is extreme. Many good FTE's are over worked while others don't seem to contribute much.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    --Empower FTE's to make decisions in an expedited way and give them more training.
    --Align strategic goals and cascaded objectives so the silos are focused on common goals (vs. try to achieve 100 different objectives poorly)
    --Training on personal accountability. Assign ownership and hold people accountable. Decision making gets clogged down in collaboration.
    --Address bullying faster than you are. There has been NO word on how bullying will be addressed since the employee meeting.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  2.  

    Poorly thought out and run mash up of Federal & Private industries

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Systems Administrator in Portland, OR
    Current Employee - Systems Administrator in Portland, OR

    I have been working at Bonneville Power as a contractor (more than an year)

    Pros

    Flexible time allows for good work/home life. If you're a Fed you can pretty much walk in whenever, sit back, do nothing, and still get paid. If you're a contractor, still have good flexible time schedules, rest is very highly dependent on which organization and group you work with.

    Cons

    No consistency between groups or organizations. Nobody seems to be on the same page, whether projects, standard practices, or even general company direction. Constant backbiting and generalized hostility between groups that are dependent on one another. Management appears to be completely clueless and rarely listens to the advise and opinions of their more highly qualified contractors. Company throws money into grandiose projects that are poorly conceived and planned out at best, and often end in complete confusion, frustration, and massive irritation for those that now have to "live with it". Many of BPA's organizations, technical developers, and system matter experts appear to have no actual skill or general competences with their projects and software.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    If you're going to manage IT in any shape, form, or fashion please learn something (or anything really) about it. Listen to and seriously evaluate things said by your more highly experienced contractors.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  3. 1 person found this helpful  

    Too much politics

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Business Analyst in Portland, OR
    Former Employee - Business Analyst in Portland, OR

    I worked at Bonneville Power full-time

    Pros

    They have a casual atmosphere in many departments and have a good work-life balance. They are flexible in time sharing to move your arrival and departure times to accommodate personal time as needed, so long as you get 40 hours in. They are doing a lot of restructuring and changes in processes that will benefit them in the future.

    Cons

    They are very understaffed due to the Federal Government hiring sanctions which has created a lot of pressure, particularly on younger or lower level leadership to make decisions they aren't prepared to make. There is a loss of continuity and direction in many instances. Each department runs things their own way without a lot of cross talk which causes a huge waste in resources, finances and personnel. Many decisions, including software development is based on political decisions and not on usability or financial.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Look at people's abilities, even contractors that exceed the position they are originally hired in and consider using those talents in other ways. Many people are in a position they are good at, but they also have talents in other areas the company desperately needs. Rather than have a supervisor cap those talents as unimportant to their cause, they need to farm those out when possible to better aid the company

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
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  5. 2 people found this helpful  

    Lord of the Flies

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - IT Specialist Devops in Portland, OR
    Former Employee - IT Specialist Devops in Portland, OR

    I worked at Bonneville Power as a contractor (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    If you have a social relationship with the right people, you can do as you please. I guess that's a pro if you have integrity and motivation.

    Cons

    Management is exceptionally disengaged. The caste system is overwhelming. Bullying and assertiveness wins over thoughtful planning and coordination. The culture is the worst of both corporate and government. Morale is hideously low throughout the organization, and management's answer is to call whatever transpires a success.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Stop redefining metrics to appear successful. Listen to the talent that you hire to help determine what is realistically acheivable. Take time to ensure that the fundamental processes are robust before trying to move forward with new capabilities.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  6. 2 people found this helpful  

    Soul Crushing

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Business Analyst in Vancouver, WA
    Current Employee - Business Analyst in Vancouver, WA

    I have been working at Bonneville Power as a contractor (more than an year)

    Pros

    Good hourly rate, until you factor in no paid holidays, sick, or vacation time.

    Cons

    FTE's are a nightmare. In my division, 60 year old secretaries are classified as "analysts." They can't do the work and will bully and berate anyone who can.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Start using some sort of civil service exam for hiring AND for promotions. Stop letting illiterate people move around on details and demand thousands of hours of training (only to be 10% as competent as their contractor counterparts).

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  7. 5 people found this helpful  

    Totally dysfunctional organization

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Unspecified - Somewhere In the N Org in Portland, OR
    Former Employee - Unspecified - Somewhere In the N Org in Portland, OR

    I worked at Bonneville Power full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    Government job - if you're a federal employee, you have almost unshakeable job security unless you REALLY screw up. If you're a contractor, federal law requires contracting agencies to pay prevailing wage and benefits, vacation and holidays with pay.

    Cons

    Office politics, projects allowed to run amok and out of control, various orgs are totally at odds with each other. Middle and upper management run their orgs like their own private fiefdoms. I've personally witnessed a manager admit that a particular change was a good idea for the agency but they wouldn't sign off on it unless the manager who wanted it was willing to sign off on something they wanted. Ridiculous power plays resulting and pet projects result in astounding levels of waste and inefficiency. Attempting to speak up about the blatant waste and abuse of ratepayer funds is met with total apathy. Management might agree with you, but they'll tell you it's just the way it is and you need to accept it. They're not willing to stand up for what's right and help fix it. When nobody wants to be part of the solution they become part of the problem.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Quit playing power games and political maneuvering to further your own goals. Work together to bring waste and spending down and actually be good stewards of ratepayer funds. You are not a private company where the customers can tell you to shove it they're going to a competitor. People need to have electricity and they can't switch to a different electric company. PGE and the other utility companies can't just tell Bonneville to shove it they'll get their power elsewhere. You have a captive audience. You need to respect that and utilize those funds in a responsible manner, not abuse it with waste and apathy. Work for the good of the organization, not your own department. Work for the good of the ratepayers of this region who pay your wages, not your pet projects.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  8. 5 people found this helpful  

    Not Worth It

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Contractor in Vancouver, WA
    Former Employee - Contractor in Vancouver, WA

    I worked at Bonneville Power as a contractor (less than an year)

    Pros

    You will get paid a nice amount of money, even to do the most simplistic job.
    Get all federal holidays off with pay.

    Cons

    DO NOT TAKE A CONTRACTOR POSITION IN THE VANCOUVER OFFICE!!!! Anyone who is not a contractor there is unable to do their job because the FTEs only want to gossip about the other employees (this includes having weekly meetings where you will be not be invited to).
    If you want to succeed there, you must only do a mediocre job.
    -Do not make the FTEs look bad by working harder than them (remember, you can be let go because a FTE wants you gone without having any proof to their claim about you doing a poor job).
    -Do not leave 10 minutes early from the time you are supposed to leave. Someone will be watching you. (Tip: send an email to yourself so you have proof of when you come into “work” and leave).
    -Do not expect any of the FTEs to know how to do the job you are assigned to do (Tip: the contractors who have been doing their job for a while will know how to their job correctly).
    -Do not expect to be treated like a human being. Constantly, you will be reminded how you are not a part of BPA. Want to go to the company picnic? Get ready to pay $7 and go on your lunch break (and if you go over, make sure you make up the time you did not “work”).
    -Do whatever the FTE tells you to do. This includes: paying invoices for contracts that expired 6 months ago, paying invoices that are submitted incorrectly and charging the invoice to the wrong department and/or work order.

    -Do keep looking for another job if you end up there, unless you like a high paying dead-end job.
    -Do remember you can be let go at anytime for no solid reason.
    -Do your best to make friends (or at least pretend to like them) with the FTEs that are your co-workers. These are the people who decide if you keep your job or not.
    -Do wish you can work in an environment that is just like when you were in high school.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    -Never go on vacation. When you get back, you will find your best employee is gone.
    -Stop talking about how your department needs to become more efficient and do something about it. You need to fire most of the FTEs.
    -Put your efforts into watching how the FTEs work and not the contractors. The hiring freeze is almost over and pretty soon (I hope) you will be able to get rid of the ones who can’t do their job (and that is most of them).
    -I have a feeling you know you are stuck with horrible FTEs. Break some rules and really encourage the contractors to let you know it is ok to say how bad the work environment is. You have the power to make the FTEs actually do their job, right?
    -If you keep listening to the FTEs, you will never have an efficient working environment. They have no motivation to do a good job at all.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO
  9. 2 people found this helpful  

    A tremendous waste of my time and skills.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Realty Tech in Portland, OR
    Former Employee - Realty Tech in Portland, OR

    I worked at Bonneville Power as a contractor (more than an year)

    Pros

    Although overpriced, the food in the Café was good.

    Cons

    The management skills displayed by those that directed my work give credence to why so many are upset with the workings of the federal government. I've never worked for an organization where supervisors ask staff in meetings to share the latest gossip. The supervisor I was directed by could only be described as underachieving, overpaid, overweight and waiting to retire with a fat federal pension. How any real estate acquisitions ever take place are a mystery to me. And giving a contractor authority over the work of a federal employee is in direct violation of federal policy. If the lights don't come on some morning when you get up, look no further than the mismanagement on the third floor of the BPA's East Portland complex.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    This group is beyond help.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  10.  

    Great way to contribute to the region

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Vancouver, WA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Vancouver, WA

    I have been working at Bonneville Power full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    Great Healthcare, Excellent 401k type retirement plan, Direct Community Impact, Community involvement and outreach opportunities, good training and growth opportunities.

    Cons

    Low pay scale. The complexities of ethics regulations and working with contractors, mandatory contractor/employee ratios can make for difficult and awkward scenarios.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  11.  

    Intern

    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Bonneville Power

    Pros

    Valuable training was provided for the internship

    Cons

    No significant challenges for working here.

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