Managing multiple capital projects in the electric utility industry
In the late 1960s, utility companies first began struggling with the demands involved in operating within the limits of their budgets while meeting increased public pressures for more reliable and more environmentally conscious services, demands that prevented them from realizing the same opportunities to reduce costs and increase revenues that previous investments offered. This article examines those processes that utility companies use to manage capital improvement projects, processes that have generated both failures and successes. It discusses these processes in relation to the firsthand experiences of utility companies in managing multiple capital projects. It describes the practices these companies use when managing these projects, explaining their organizational structures, control and reporting procedures, and post-project review and closeout activities. It then recommends four processes for improving these types of projects, processes that involve guideline selection, project accountability, project controls and feedback, and project closeout.