Mirror Staff Report
REGIONAL—(August 6, 2013) Delta-Montrose Electric Association (DMEA) does a fantastic job of delivering services and communicating with customers, however, a lack of confidence in top management among the employee base could undermine the cooperative’s strengths over the long term, states the newly-released Organization Assessment Study of DMEA compiled by National Consulting Group (NCG), a division of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association. In the study, NCG identified organizational strengths, gaps and opportunities, engaged with nearly all employees to gain input through interviews, groups and surveys, and formulated recommendations for improvement.
When compared against national electrical distribution cooperatives of similar size, DMEA “performs exceptionally well on its critical areas of safety, reliability, cost and member satisfaction,” the report states. Notable comments include DMEA’s top tier safety rating and reliability performance; efforts to bring costs down; consistent improvement in resource efficiency and productivity, and high levels member satisfaction as measured by member surveys. DMEA’s progressive distribution system, strong plant infrastructure, use of enabling and emerging technologies, 24/7 dispatch center, and recently completed South Canal Hydro Project were all commended, with other noted areas of strength including high-caliber employees, strong engineering capabilities, solid information technology infrastructure, and the successful maintenance of a stable rate structure within an environment of rising power costs.
DMEA currently employs 97, and is headquartered in Montrose with a service office in Read (rural Delta County). Serving 32,000 accounts, most of which are residential (89 percent), DMEA brings in total revenues of 65 million and has total utility plant size of $160 million. Twenty-five percent of DMEA’s revenue comes from 10 key large power accounts.
The report also notes that DMEA is approaching completion of its capital improvement program, with total capital expenditures for the 2012-2013 construction work plan at $25 million.
The Organizational Assessment Study also noted a number of key attention areas, topped by organizational culture and a perceived lack of engagement and clear direction from top management.
“…perceived conflicts between the (DMEA) board and top management are fostering a negative climate, rumors, confusion and poor attitudes,” the report notes. “Employees lack confidence that the board and management will do the right things.”
Also assessed were finance and accounting; DMEA’s billing cycle; operations; engineering and energy services; information technology; a high level wage comparison and recommendations concerning the current schedule, which allows some top management to work ten-hour shifts four days per week.
“The four-day workweek works well with certain functions, such as Operations, where you can schedule crews to work later on larger jobs and cover critical times for outage restoration,” the report states. “For other functions, the 4/10 work week schedule can limit the ability to provide appropriate resource coverage throughout the week, especially when the number of resources is limited.”
In addition to offering recommendations for organizational restructuring, including the elimination of the present Assistant General Manager position, the report concludes with five top line strategies: Improving the relationship between Board and Management; Reengage the General Manager to lead and manage DMEA for continued success; strengthen leadership across the management team; strengthen DMEA’s financial planning capabilities; and align resources to maximize performance.
To read the final report for yourself, visit www.dmea.com.