Utilities Tout Benchmarking and Best Management Practices as Key Success Factors at Boston Meeting

Oct 05, 2005, 01:00 ET from EUCG

    BOSTON, Oct. 5 /PRNewswire/ -- A gathering of 130 utility professionals
 representing 75 separate companies concluded with participants agreeing that
 utilities should improve upon their existing benchmarking and best practice
 systems to drive business growth as well as cost reduction.
     EUCG, a global association of energy professionals that performs
 benchmarking surveys and seeks to identify best practices in the electric
 utility industry, held its annual fall conference at Boston's Hilton Back Bay
 Hotel on Sept. 25-28.  The theme of the conference, according to EUCG
 President Steve Saunders, was "Energy Information ... for Best Practices."
 Saunders, who is employed by the Tennessee Valley Authority, the largest
 public power generator, and has served as EUCG's president since 2000, said,
 "EUCG member utilities' use of benchmarking and best practices is becoming
 more and more an important strategic resource within their individual
     Saunders added:  "Our members are quite good at using EUCG data to drive
 improved organizational performance that, in turn, benefits their member
 companies, the electric utility industry in general, and all electric power
     Mark Derry, EUCG Vice President from Exelon Corporation (NYSE:   EXC),
 attended many of these presentations and concluded that "benchmarking and the
 best practices are increasingly being used by utilities to accelerate learning
 and improvement. It complements other productivity tools -- and is helping our
 membership to enhance competitiveness."
     Dozens of benchmarking and best practices topics were presented during the
 conference's three-day run, said George W. Sharp, EUCG National Marketing
 Director from American Electric Power (NYSE:   AEP).  According to Sharp,
 highlights of the conference included:
      - A discussion of plant safety performance including the results of
        benchmarking data gathered around member utilities' safety programs,
        policies and procedures. This discussion was facilitated by individuals
        from Ameren (NYSE:   AEE), Detroit Edison (NYSE:   DTE) and Texas Utilities
        (NYSE:   TXU).
      - A working session for members regarding how to maximize their use of
        EUCG's capital database, including how to conduct effective cost
        comparisons with EUCG data while driving improvements to related
        business processes.  This session was facilitated by individuals from
        Duke Energy (NYSE:   DUK), The Southern Company (NYSE:   SO) and
        FirstEnergy (NYSE:   FE).
      - A roundtable discussion of organizational best practices "success
        stories," including a special session on how to build a winning culture
        between and among company employees, unions, and management.  Success
        story discussions were facilitated by individuals from Kansas City
        Power & Light (NYSE:   GXP), Conectiv Energy (NYSE:   POM), Alliant Energy
        (NYSE:   LNT) and the Omaha Public Power District.
     The conference's keynote address was given by Chris Bogan, President and
 Chief Executive Officer of Best Practices, LLC and co-author of Benchmarking
 for Best Practices:  Winning Through Innovative Adaptation.  Bogan, a leading
 authority on best practice improvement strategies, told the audience that "in
 life and business, small variations create enormous performance and outcome
 differences."  He added: "It's the small things you do when structuring and
 conducting your benchmarking activities that lead to success that others never
 achieve.  EUCG provides one such platform in which to cultivate these 'small
 differences' that lead to success."
     EUCG will hold its 2006 spring conference in Anaheim, California.  All
 energy professionals are invited.  Interested parties should visit the EUCG
 website (http://www.eucg.org) for more information.
     About EUCG:  EUCG is a global association of energy and electric utility
 professionals who discuss current and emerging industry issues, share best
 practices, and exchange data for benchmarking purposes. The association is
 organized into five (5) separate committees that represent specific utility
 functions:  Transmission & Distribution (T&D), Fossil Plants, Hydro Plants,
 Nuclear Plants, and Information Technology (IT) departments.  Members attend
 semi-annual conferences 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 Pat Kovalesky
 - EUCG Executive Director, at 1-623-572-4140.  Email:  eucgexec@quixnet.net.
 Website:  http://www.eucg.org .