Cities throughout the U.S. contemplating take over of a privately owned utility may be more likely to move forward now that the governor of New Mexico signed legislation that has made such a...
Success is in the Details: Rationalize, Organize, and Plan
necessary approvals from the two companies' shareholders and from state and federal regulatory agencies. In fact, we managed to secure all the necessary regulatory approvals (em with the exception of that of the Nuclear Regula-tory Commission (em in a little less than 11 months.
To ensure the support of shareholders, employees, and customers, we developed communica-tion plans to keep each group informed of the latest developments. Key constituents were further segmented to create an extensive list of state and local officials, our respective state Congressional delegations, and business leaders in our headquarters communities.
We recognized that employees, in particular, would require information on a regular basis and that they should receive merger news quickly. We created an employee phone-in inquiry service with daily responses provided by companywide electronic mail and a twice-monthly employee newsletter devoted exclusively to merger-related articles.
Stan and I have also been involved in numerous meetings with equity analysts, business writers, utility industry groups, and civic and business leaders. We will continue to ensure that our principal constituencies are kept informed of the merger's progress and the benefits we expect to achieve.
Creating a New Company
Our goal was to create a new company, rather than simply put the two companies together. The creation of a new organization is a unique opportunity (em one that could take years of study if the time were available. We gave ourselves 10 months to do this job.
Why the hurry? Mergers by their very nature breed high levels of uncertainty and insecurity among all concerned (em managers, employees, shareholders, suppliers, and so on. These uncertainties, over time, can have potentially adverse effects on morale, operations, safety, efficiency, and service. We needed an approach that would quickly identify the vital factors and considerations involved in merging, sort them out area by area and function by function, and provide the basis for the development of informed recommendations. The mechanism we selected was the "Corporate/Utility Transition Team."
In early August, less than a week after our announcement, we appointed an eight-member (four from each company) Transition Team of senior managers. A key job for the Transition Team was to recommend organizational structures for the new company. To do so, the Transition Team formed 16 sub-teams to recommend management structures for the following corporate functions and operations:
s Corporate communication
s Corporate services
s Customer requirements
s Customer support
s Electric distribution
s Electric generation
s Electric integrated resources
s Electric transmission
s Finance and accounting
s Gas distribution
s Gas supply
s Human resources
s Information systems
s Law and regulatory affairs
s Materials and supplies.
The merger process occurred in three stages: analysis, planning, and implementation. The sub-teams played a vital role in the first two. The Transition Team then used the sub-teams' work to develop implementation plans, which will be used by the new MidAmerican management team. Implementation will begin when the merger receives final approval.
The sub-teams' first step was to talk with our customers, who told us about their current and future energy service needs. Our job was to