Municipal Utilities Looking for More Revenue?

Municipal utilities across the country are facing  regulations, and economic conditions that are killing the bottom line. Could additional revenue streams help solve your problem?

Several municipal utilities are restricted to supplying only electricity and water. But other municipal utilities are open to selling a variety of products.

Some municipal utilities have already entered the communications/technology arena. Others (especially in UK and Australia) have partnered with other kinds of businesses to help increase revenue. See Kathleen Tweed’s article “Will You Buy Your Power From a Department Store.”

Good leaders envision the future and create alternatives. They head off the budget crisis they see on the horizon. They determine a course of action and do whatever is needed to make it happen. They never give up when they know something must be done to avoid failure.

Can municipal utilities add products to increase profitability? Which products would fit your company and customers? How would you change the “laws” that limit your products and sales?

Would it make sense for you to serve other municipal utilities by becoming a supplier of standard products you use in the course of your business? Would it make sense for you to sell appliances and other products directly to your utility customers? Can you partner with other businesses to enhance the bottom line in both companies? Would some kind of marketing partnership make sense?

P.S. Being a service company and member of the community does not prevent you from also “running your business.” If adding products strengthens your company so you can continue to be the community asset you’ve always been, you might have to embrace some of the conventional, competitive business arrangements that keep other retailers and wholesalers in the market. Some people would call this “vertical marketing” – from generation to usage.

 

 

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Working Alone?

If you’re still working alone, you’re basically still in the industrial age. Leaders and workers in the 21st Century are connected … Yes … connected.

Who do you meet with in a digital way to share your goals, ambitions, and challenges?

You can meet with others of like mind by “telephone” (if I may use that archaic word) using free bridge lines that work like a conference call, by web cam, by webinar, or even the old fashioned way, in person. Groups like these are called MasterMind groups.

If you’re not in a MasterMind group, you’re missing out. Let me know if you want to know more about how to set up a group and arrange the meetings.

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Solar Panel Pollution

New York Times Asia Edition reports that Protestors in China are upset because of pollution caused by a solar panel manufacturing site. It seems that a storm washed improperly stored waste products into nearby waterways.

Have you had outside experts review your operations to make sure you’re prepared for the unexpected?

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Entitlement or Luxury

Where I grew up people were fortunate to live “on the highway” because those who lived “off” the highway didn’t have electricity. None of us had telephone service because a storm had blown down the lines and none would be reinstalled until “the new service” was provided some years down the line.

We considered electricity a luxury. It was truly a time saver and made life easier. There were major promotions to get people to buy electrical appliances (toasters, stoves, ovens, refrigerators, heaters, fans).

Those who “lived off the highway” couldn’t even dream of enjoying these items. Today, however, everyone on the highway and off the highway consider this marvel of the modern age to be an entitlement. If there’s a power outage, people scream at their political leaders and threaten litigation.

So here’s the question (not so much as why this is the case), but what’s your own attitude about this convenience. Do you consider electricity a luxury or an entitlement?

And do you ever thank those who make it possible (in all kinds of weather, no matter how rapidly the demand changes and no matter how much the political policies shift like the wind)?

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Mastermind Solutions

Who helps you achieve goals, overcome obstacles, and succeed in all situations?

Andrew Carnegie was one of the most wealthy people in America. He attributed his entire success to his Master Mind group of fifty like-minded individuals who met regularly to test ideas and overcome obstacles in the manufacturing and marketing of steel.

Napoleon Hill described the value of these Master Mind groups in his 1937 book “Think and Grow Rich.” Hill explains that in such a group:

1.You have a group of people available to help you succeed
2.You get the benefit of differing perspectives, input and feedback
3.Your mastermind team can bring resources and connections to the table you might not have had on your own
4.You receive accountability and inspiration from the group, thus enabling you to maintain focus in achieving your goals

Google has plenty of sites with advice on starting and running a mastermind group. The key thing is to find a few people and get started. Meet in person or by phone. Meet a couple times a month or once a quarter – whatever serves your needs.

If you’re not in a mastermind group, you’re missing out.

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Take Me to Your Leader

Did you know that the “baby boomer” managers and executives are going to be elegible for retirement soon? One out five managers and one out of three executives are ready to go.

A Taleo Research survey finds that over 80% of the 930 companies surveyed identified talet shortages are affecting their leadership development efforts.

The same report includes data showing that 80% of companies polled report that the most significant capability-building challenge is “leadership development.”

What are you doing to prepare leaders to take over? Do you have a plan?

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Who’s in Charge of Smart?

-WHAT IS A SMART METER– – YouTube

    21 million smart meters were deployed in 2010; this number is expected to almost triple to 57.9 million as 90+ utilities plan deployment. — Pike Research
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Here’s a quote from Energy Biz webcast advertisement: Smart meter rollout has begun. Now what? It’s time to prepare for the influx of usage data that smart meters can provide. Historically, utilities and consumers alike have only been able to plan supply and demand based on meter readings performed monthly. Now, with information available minute by minute, opportunities for efficiency abound. Smart meters enable:

  • Reduced energy consumption for residential, commercial and industrial users
  • Remote troubleshooting of network and equipment problems by utilities
  • Easier integration of renewable energy sources into the distribution system
  • Near real-time visibility into demand for more effective distribution management

Energy Biz webcast ad can be seen at https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/683621769

But here’s the question. Who is your leader in the smart meters? Who is developing your plan? Who coordinates advertising and communication? If we leave all of this for the CEO or Executive Director, we’re going to be way behind the power curve. This project requires a special project coordinator and staff to maximize the company’s benefits along with the customers’

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Why Bother with Social Media?

Click on this sentence and decide for yourself whether you need to immerse yourself in Social Media


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Social Media and Leadership

Good leaders are good communicators. Call it new. Call it silly if you want, but savvy leaders are using social media as a communication tool.

Experience shows that messages are better received if communicated through several media. This used to mean memos, letters to home address, briefings, notes on bulletin boards, one-on-one, videos, faxes and so on. Today, the same tools work in conjunction with techy tools and social media.

Do you think you should wait until everyone else is using social media? Do you think you need a full-blown list of thousands before you start putting the message on social media? Would it be good to get started and learn how to maximize the tools before you get thousands of people watching you?

Watch this short clip and decide for yourself whether your utility should engage customers with social media http://snurl.com/s-media

Energy Biz article “Utilities Facing up to Social Media”

http://municipalu.com

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Are Leaders Responsible for Billing Errors?

 

Good leaders pay attention to all aspects of the business, especially customer relations and administrative subjects.

Electricity suppliers in the state of Pennsylvania are under the gun for inaccurate billing.

Do you know the extent of your own errors? Do you have statistics on the number of billing errors found over the past year?

What are you doing to prevent errors? Does your quality control program include elements to avoid such errors?

Can you make this a non-issue by heading off controversy? What are you doing to make sure customers are comfortable with the accuracy of your billing?

 

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