Pittsburgh Water & Sewer Authority extends partnership with Veolia for interim executive management through 2015
Dec 09, 2014
The Pittsburgh Water & Sewer Authority (PWSA) Board of Directors has voted to continue its nearly three-year partnership with Veolia, the world’s leading provider of environmental solutions. Since 2012, the partnership has secured more than $5 million annually in positive financial benefit, implemented operational efficiencies, and made PWSA a leader in local efforts to implement Green Infrastructure (GI).
The one-year contract extension to December 2015 allows PWSA and Veolia North America to continue implementing a long-term strategy to improve customer service, reduce spending, increase efficiency, overcome financial challenges, and protect water quality and the environment. Since 2012, Veolia has provided the PWSA with interim executive management services to support PWSA’s goal of becoming Southwest Pennsylvania’s recognized expert on water quality, utility management and stakeholder responsiveness.
Since the beginning of the partnership, Veolia has helped PWSA realize approximately $5.5 million annually in recurring revenue and efficiencies. Under the leadership of interim executive director Jim Good, PWSA has instituted financial controls that limit spending and increase accountability, fostered competition among companies seeking to do business with and on behalf of PWSA, and identified opportunities for operational efficiencies that have a direct impact on the utility’s bottom line.
"Our partnership with Veolia has improved the day-to-day operations of the utility, resulting in significant cost efficiencies and improved customer service," said Alex Thomson, PWSA board chairman. "Veolia has provided stable leadership to PWSA and is helping us develop a plan to prepare the utility for the difficult challenges it faces in the future. We appreciate Veolia's continued assistance to the utility in addressing these challenges."
To enhance revenue and return the Authority to stable financial footing, PWSA secured the return of a large commercial water customer and started a water meter replacement program to ensure that all customers are receiving and paying monthly bills based on accurate consumption readings. In addition, Veolia helped PWSA optimize the Authority’s customer service platform, reducing hold times for customers up to 80 percent, enhanced the information provided to customers on monthly bills, and expanded bill-payment options.
"Together, Veolia and PWSA have forged an excellent partnership, helping the Authority demonstrate leadership, innovation and superior customer service," said William J. DiCroce, president and COO of Veolia North America’s Municipal & Commercial Business. "We appreciate the Board’s vote to extend our partnership and are confident that our relationship will continue to provide value and benefits to the Authority and its employees, customers and the community."
The partnership with PWSA is part of Veolia’s Peer Performance Solutions (PPS) model, enabling municipal water utilities to benchmark against other leading utilities while preserving public governance and a public workforce and benefiting from specialized private-sector expertise.
Improvements in services and performance levels have been generated by conducting in-depth diagnostics of current operations, developing specific recommendations for improvement, and supporting PWSA employees in implementing initiatives aimed at reaching new performance metrics. Veolia will continue to apply best practices developed through its management of more than 8,500 water and wastewater facilities and systems around the world and will share and transfer knowledge to PWSA employees.
Veolia is applying the PPS model in New York City, Winnipeg, Washington, D.C., and DeKalb County, Ga., to help utilities improve operations, find efficiencies, and improve customer service. In New York City, program implementation is expected to yield annual recurring financial benefits of more than $100 million by 2016. To date, more $90 million in savings and revenue enhancements have been reported by NYC’s Department of Environmental Protection.
PWSA/Veolia partnership highlights:
- $5.5 million annually in recurring revenue and savings through operational efficiencies
- Instituted financial controls that limit spending and increase accountability
- Fostered competition among companies looking to do business with or for PWSA
- Secured the return of large, commercial water customer
- Started water meter replacement program to improve readings and accuracy
- Optimized the customer service platform, reducing on-hold times up to 80%
- Enhanced information provided to customers on monthly bills
- Expanded bill-payment options
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