Authored by Russ Hissom
Common themes and presentations at the American Public Power Association’s (APPA) 2017 Business & Financial Conference – attended by more than 400 public power utility professionals – mirrored the changes and evolution of the utility industry: in the “utility of the future,” how will the power industry manage changes in power supply sources, operations, systems, people, financial reporting, use of information technology, cybersecurity threats and the overall utility business model?
Sessions featured in the financial, technology and human resources tracks focused on the impact of these changes and participants discussed their current approaches as well as outstanding needs and potential solutions. As the APPA Business & Financial Conference’s exclusive elite sponsor, Baker Tilly’s energy and utilities team lead sessions on “Using enterprise risk management to identify and manage utility risks,” “Workforce development for the utility of the future” and “Evaluating information technology in the decision-making process.”
In addition to the evolving demands on the utility of the future, the unprecedented damage hurricanes Harvey and Irma have wreaked on Texas and Florida was a central focus. One thing was clear: nationwide assistance by utilities in providing crews and materials has been paramount in accelerating the reconnection of electric service in affected areas. While the job is not yet done, tremendous strides have been made in a few short weeks. Closing speaker First Sergeant Matt Eversmann (Ret.), the decorated war hero and military leader featured in the film Black Hawk Down, stated, “The ‘selfless servant’ best describes those of you in the utility business.”
For more information on this topic, or to learn how Baker Tilly energy and utility specialists can help, contact our team.