Utility management involves a range of activities that include managing the operation, maintenance, and capital expenditures of electrical and water utilities. It also includes the processes of determining a sustainable rate structure and providing financial forecasts for utilities to use in developing budgets.
Proper asset tracking and management is a critical component of utility management. This does not mean simply counting office supplies – it is being aware of what type of valves are in the waste system and how old they are, or knowing which wood pole structures energy companies need to replace after disaster strikes.
Collections performance is another important component of utility management. To improve collection rates, it is essential to positively identify customers at account setup, by requiring a social security or driver’s license number and performing soft credit checks. This enables utilities to review past payment behavior and verify outstanding debt prior to allowing new service to begin.
It is also important to evaluate the current and future needs of a community in relation to utilities. This can be done through public outreach and consultation, including individual interviews with stakeholders or specific messaging in bill inserts, questionnaires or surveys. This process will help determine whether a community is prepared for a potential change in the existing utility infrastructure, or even if the current infrastructure is suitable. In order to make these determinations, it is critical that stakeholders have access to high-quality, accurate and consistent utility data. utility management