As I leave the electric utility business after 28 years as an engineer and analyst I would like to relate some thoughts on what makes this business special, even as it gives way to competition. Let me offer some advice to "local" electric utilities on how to keep at bay the "Mega Marketers" and "PanElectrics" of the world, who will soon appear to romance away their customers. Keep your "home-field advantage." Capitalize on your traditional strengths and enduring relationships. These bonds represent a wealth of goodwill earned over years of working with customer communities. They will prove difficult to create anew should you choose to break entirely with the past.
The emphasis today calls for "benchmarking" (em comparing the financial and operating performance of electric utility companies against the real business world. Electric utilities also are trying out marketing and sales techniques that have proved successful for more consumer-oriented firms. However, to furnish electric power is not to sell Pepsi-Cola. Electric utilities must continue to think as public servants, even as they search the competitive market for new profit centers.
Accolades won in supporting local economies and serving the public should not be dismissed, but improved upon. There always will be paperwork to slash. Upgrades in technology arrive daily. Yes, new blood is healthy in any organization, but experience accumulated by loyal workers should not be treated as a scourge. These times demand a mixture of innovation and experience to carry out traditional roles in new ways.
Experienced employees represent a "home-field advantage" for local electric utilities. These employees can help maintain good relations with customers, even in the face of competition. Their