Utilities Eye Future, See Critical Role in Country's Road to Recovery at EUCG Spring Meeting
"Our member utilities are pursuing similar objectives at this time, such as developing competitively priced, clean and sustainable generation delivered by an increasingly intelligent transmission and distribution network," said EUCG President
"Technology is key to our industry's and nation's future," said
EUCG's spring workshop attracted approximately 150 electric utility professionals from more than 50 utilities, including numerous foreign countries. Highlights from each EUCG committee included the following:
- Nuclear Committee: The Nuclear Committee heard presentations on work force planning, cost and reliability performance and normalization techniques for comparing global nuclear cost data, among other topics. Committee presentations were attended by more than 75 percent of North American nuclear operators, as well as delegates from
Japanand Romania. David Ward, committee chair from Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK), said, "We are continually seeking ways that will further enhance the value that these workshops bring to our membership and the industry as a whole. The active participation, open dialogue and networking at this workshop proved just how important these meetings are to the nuclear industry."
- Fossil Committee: Cost containment was a key issue discussed by the Fossil Committee, reported chair
James Patrickof Ameren (NYSE: AEE). Committee members gave presentations on managing boiler tube failures, best practices in scrubber program construction, simulator training strategies, boiler and turbine outage intervals and risk management strategies for construction programs. "Capital budgets are being decimated while operations and maintenance spending is being frozen or even reduced. Our committee is sharing processes and best practices that can help member companies optimize the impact of their reduced spend," said Patrick.
- Information Technology (IT) Committee:
Kelly McNair, committee chair from Oncor Electric Delivery, reported that the IT Committee shared information regarding each member company's experience in new IT technologies and innovation, portfolio management tools, service desk management and enabling the work force with wireless applications. "Our committee has carved an important niche for utility-only IT benchmarking. We now have a database on cost information that allows our member companies to truly measure their IT organization against like companies with similar objectives, challenges and roles. We plan to explore, benchmark and discuss best practices around IT service levels, key department deliverables and business strategies at our next workshop," said McNair.
- Hydroelectric Committee: Forced outage analysis, staffing levels and general performance benchmarking were the focus of the Hydroelectric Committee, according to
Jim Miller, committee chair from TVA. "Our new database is paying dividends for our member utilities, who have unique tools for analyzing costs that no one else in the industry currently has," said Miller. "Our members want to understand the specific drivers behind exceptional hydro performance, and they can discuss ways that our member utilities can continue a path of continuous improvement."
- Transmission and Distribution (T&D) Committee: The T&D Committee focused on a variety of current issues, including physical and cyber security, estimating costs for transmission construction projects and succession planning for an aging work force, reported
Joe Martucci, committee chair from PSEG (NYSE: PEG). "New technologies and building out our nation's electric grid are important objectives for our country over the next few years, and our committee will stay on top of these issues in future workshops."
- Safety Committee: The EUCG Safety Committee is transitioning from an exploratory to a fully functioning committee, said
Ken McCullough, committee chair from AEP. "Those who attended our meeting are excited about the potential this unique forum holds for advancing safety performance in our industry," said McCullough. "We are exploring new and innovative ideas, such as the creation of a system to report on significant industry safety events, the development of standard safety metrics in which our member companies can benchmark ourselves and the sharing of best practices. The value of such a forum to the electric utility industry cannot be overstated. It's important at this juncture to involve more members so that we can explore other opportunities within the EUCG infrastructure."
EUCG will hold its 2009 fall workshop in
About EUCG: EUCG is a global non-profit association of energy and electric utility professionals who discuss current and emerging industry issues, share best practices and exchange data for benchmarking purposes. The 36-year-old association is organized into five separate committees that represent specific utility functions: Transmission & Distribution (T&D), Fossil Plants, Hydro Plants, Nuclear Plants and Information Technology (IT) departments. The Group is also developing a Safety Committee. Members attend semiannual workshops that focus on strategic planning, maintenance practices, operations management, outage management and various other aspects of the electric utility business. Membership is open to all utility companies and professionals worldwide. Interested parties should contact