Paducah Power System board members and staff wrapped up their strategic planning process Thursday, identifying several priorities and goals. The process began in November and was facilitated by Steve VanderMeer, senior vice president with Hometown Connections, the utility services subsidiary of the American Public Power Association.
“Really all you’re trying to answer is who you are, what you do, who you serve, where you want to be down the road and how you want to get there,” VanderMeer said. “That’s really strategic planning, in essence.”
While the board and senior staff, plus a team of key department heads, took the lead in strategic planning, the entire staff was involved to some degree, said Dave Carroll, PPS general manager.
“We’ve learned a lot of different things,” he said. “The first thing we learned is a lot of employees were fearful. So we had an all-employee meeting and made a presentation to them explaining the process. I think we were pretty successful in calming nerves.
“We’ve reached out to everyone in the organization, and I think they appreciated that quite a bit.”
Paducah Power’s mission “is to provide our customers with reliable and economical electric service of the highest quality and be a valued partner in the community and its development,” according to a draft statement reviewed Thursday.
The board discussed the possibility of also drafting a vision statement, but decided to pursue that later.
“In a lot of ways it’s a little difficult to assess a vision,” according to Carroll, “because of the uncertainty of our solution to power supply. If we say ‘this is our vision for the future of this company 10 years from now’ that could be one of three or four different roads.
“It’s difficult to pin down exactly what we’re going to look like,” he said. “I think the power supply solution will drive that.”
Among the planning priorities identified is maintaining “a strong, long-term financial foundation with fair rates.” Goals to achieve that pertain to the utility’s bond ratings, a strong cash reserve, and ensuring all wholesale power costs are recovered by the power cost adjustment.
Action items identified include reducing PPS’ generation assets to be more in line with its retail load. Another item is examining methods for reducing debt payments such as refundings, asset sales, allocation of generation debt to other parties and long-term power contracts.
Other identified priorities include remaining the regional standard for reliable service, maintaining a strong, long-term financial foundation with fair rates, investing in the success and quality of life in the Paducah community, exceptional customer service and developing a highly skilled workforce.
Following several hours of discussion, VanderMeer summarized the process.
“It sounds like the plan is in good shape, and I hope you will continue to modify it as conditions and issues change.” Carroll expressed his optimism for continuing the progress made.
“I don’t anticipate this document dying,” he said. “The people that were involved in these meetings really bought in to what we were doing … and they’re excited about it.”