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"Managing Backlash to Blackout 2003"
Released:                                                   08/19/2003
Location:                                                    Naperville, IL
For additional information contact:                Len Wass

  Blackout 2003 will no doubt generate healthy debate leading to important capital investments and attendant system reliability and casualty response improvements. However, the opportunity is ripe for knee-jerk over reactions on the part of government, regulators, and customer advocates, as well as the transmission companies and utilities themselves.

  The Wass Consulting Group suggests that you keep in mind the following three key elements as Blackout 2003 works its way through the analysis, lessons learned, and corrective actions phases:

  • Governance and oversight of transmission operations, whether internal to a utility itself or of a separate transmission company, will continue to challenge utility management. A handful of key elements for effective governance should be stressed by utility executive management in these efforts.
  • Transmission system capital projects associated with ongoing infrastructure maintenance are fundamentally different than those associated with expansion or improvements, and should be treated as such by the planning and execution processes. With regard to infrastructure maintenance, the "pace" of such projects is critical to meet the operational needs of an aging infrastructure.
  • Communications, particularly real time operational communications, remain critical. With the relatively recent adoption of the national ISO structure, of more competitive markets, and with the creation of separate transmission companies, the opportunity for immature communications methods to adversely affect operational performance has escalated.
  The Wass Consulting Group, Inc. has experience advising executive utility and transmission company executives with issues such as these, and would be pleased to discuss how we may assist you and your firm in appropriately reacting to, and managing the follow-up to, Blackout 2003.

  Please feel free to contact us for further information by phone at (630) 637-1405, or by e-mail as shown below:

Leonard R. Wass, Chief Executive Officer, lwass@wcginc.com
Randall K. Moon, Vice President, rkmoon@wcginc.com

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