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Utility board charter perspective

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During my career as an engineering manager for electric utilities, I often motivated the troops with the results of a national survey. Respondents were asked to rank the factors most important to their lives from a long list.
The results were, in order:  air, water, food and electricity. The devastating aftermath of hurricane Sandy is another illustration of the importance of electricity to people’s health and safety.
 Here in Los Alamos, our Department of Public Utilities (DPU) is directly responsible for two out of four of these most important factors.
Operating our utilities is similar to running our town; it involves all the strategic elements of planning, maintenance, emergency response, informed purchases, public safety, and reliable performance of both equipment and workers. We expect our water, gas and electric power to be there, present and future, and we expect it restored immediately, if lost. It is a responsibility that must always be taken seriously.
Utility management provides the technical and administrative skills to execute their mission. The Utility Board provides oversight and provides sufficient funding to perform the mission through rates that are fair to all served. In addition, Board oversight must be strategic, to ensure management is planning for long range needs and infrastructure maintenance.


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