PLACERVILLE, CALIFORNIA

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EID Q&A: Measuring performance

By From page B1 | April 08, 2013

A conversation between Mary Lynn Carlton, EID Communications and Community Relations Director, and General Manager Jim Abercrombie regarding EID’s Performance Measurement Program

Can you tell me how EID measures its performance?

Like most businesses, EID measures performance both over time and by comparison to similar utilities. In order to assure that we are providing safe and reliable water and wastewater services at comparable rates, the district’s performance is measured in four primary categories — public health and safety, customer service, efficiency trends and finance. Within these categories, we measure against what we call “Key Performance Indicators.” We compare ourselves to similar utilities such as Placer County Water Agency, Nevada Irrigation District, Tuolumne Utility District, San Juan Water District, Calaveras County Water District, Sacramento Suburban Water District, South Tahoe Public Utility District and Amador Water Agency. We also compare ourselves to standards developed by the American Water Works Association (AWWA), Standard and Poor’s rating agency, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, and other agencies in our field.

Overall, how you do you think EID is doing, when compared to others in our industry?

I am happy to say that I think we’re doing a pretty good job. With a lot of hard work by staff, we’ve been able to improve in these areas over time. As you will see below, we have exceeded in some areas. We still have some work to do in other areas.

Can you share some specific measurements and scores?

Public Health and Safety/2012 Notices of Regulatory Violations

It’s important to provide safe, reliable water and wastewater services, and that’s why we measure the number of regulatory violations we receive and the number of sanitary sewer overflows (SSOs) we experience. We have only had one minor threshold exceedance at Strawberry Water Treatment Plant and we have had zero violations in the wastewater and hydro areas.

2012 sanitary sewer overflows

EID was rated as having one of the best records in our class, according to AWWA, reducing SSOs from 12 per 100 miles of pipe in 2009 to only two per 100 miles of pipe in 2012.

Customer satisfaction

Measuring customer satisfaction is important because we want to make sure we are providing our customers with the best service possible, whether it is answering customers’ questions, repairing broken waterlines, performing a water audit, assisting customers with obtaining grants, or providing high-quality recreational services. In 2012, 89 percent of customers who responded to our survey reported that they are satisfied with their level of service provided.

Efficiency trends

It is important to measure efficiencies in various areas of our business so we can tell if we are being as productive as possible in the way we do our work, whether it is in a technical or a business area. Examples include:

2012 Service Reliability/Minimizing Length of Unplanned Water Outages — Ranked in the top quartile in service reliability based on Associated Water Works Association (AWWA) standards.

2012 Number of Accounts Serviced per Employee — 290 accounts serviced per employee (second best among similar agencies).

Financial

Measuring our financial indicators is important because it tells us whether we are at or below the median average monthly billing rate of other agencies in our area, as that is where we strive to be. We want to make sure we always maintain a great credit rating, so that those who rate our bonds will see use as a credible agency and provide us with lower interest rates. Here are some examples of our results:

2012 Regional Bill Comparisons (see charts on our website)

  • Water — Monthly cost in lowest third of similar neighboring utilities.
  • Wastewater — Monthly cost at midpoint of similar tertiary treatment facilities.

2012 Debt to Total Asset

  • Falls in the “moderate” range for utilities, per Standard & Poor’s, including the significant infrastructure replacement program.

Debt Service Coverage

  • In 2012 Standard & Poor’s raised EID’s credit rating from A to A+, and Moody’s re-affirmed our A1 rating.

Other details of our Performance Measure Plan may be viewed on our Website at eid.org.

What steps do you take to ensure that EID does not slip in its performance, and strives to improve even more?

We have performance measures embedded in every employee’s performance goals and objectives. These individual performance goals support the district’s overall goals. Employees, by nature, like to meet or exceed their own performance goals, and it is very important that they are tied together.

Is this information communicated to the Board, ratepayers and other stakeholders?

Yes, I provide an annual report and presentation to the Board of Directors and to the general public during a board meeting.

Mary Lynn Carlton

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