Utility scorecard reporting for operational and financial improvements

Client Need

The goal of driving both financial and operational excellence led an East Coast utility serving over one million customers to implement scorecard reporting metrics. The utility business is a prime area for implementation of scorecard metrics due to the availability of data for many key performance indicators and the ability to drive performance improvements through incremental changes in operations. The monopoly nature of most retail electric, water, wastewater, and gas services also allows a utility to introduce operational changes through the use of metrics measures, review performance changes, and make peer comparisons with fewer concerns for potential lost customers and revenues while maintaining the ability and time to further tweak performance.

Scorecard reporting is based on foundational works by Kaplan and Norton (The Balanced Scorecard and The Strategy Focused Organization) that rely on the value of visually documenting the links between performance metrics to overall organizational strategies.

Solution

The Energy and Utilities team at Baker Tilly developed a tailored approach to guide the utility’s scorecard reporting. The overall process revolved around:

  1. Determining what should be benchmarked and what impact achieving benchmark goals has on the utility
  2. Identifying peer groups—internal and external—for comparable of metrics
  3. Identifying data availability and collection methodologies
  4. Determining performance gaps to be measured
  5. Establishing incremental goals
  6. Defining reporting frameworks to line employees, management, and board
  7. Establishing mitigation plans when goals are not met
  8. Formalizing a plan, do, study, act (PDSA) approach towards recalibrating the measurement and improvement process

The keys to implementing the entire metrics process are:

  • Management and board buy-in
  • Data integrity and reliability
  • Buy-in by line employees
  • Connecting scorecard measures with organizational strategy and actionable steps to improve subpar performance

Results

The specialized Baker Tilly team worked closely with the East Coast utility to develop meaningful and tailored metrics reporting and measuring tools to aid with evaluating ongoing performance. The recommendations allowed the metrics to be incorporated into employee compensation and overall corporate strategy. Overall, the process allowed for improved financial and operational efficiencies.

For more information on this topic, or to learn how Baker Tilly energy and utility specialists can help, contact our team.