District of Columbia
Blue Horizon 2020 Strategic Plan
In recent years, DC Water has undergone many major changes including the appointment of several new Board members and the initiation of large capital projects of unprecedented scale. DC Water’s leadership recognized the complexity of managing these changes while continuing to provide high-quality water and wastewater services to their more than 2,000,000 customers in the Metro DC area.
In 2008, DC Water adopted a strategic plan that was very operationally driven and, as a result, the organization has been very successful at providing service to its customers. However, the changes described above resulted in the need to re-evaluate the organization’s overall direction and to provide an opportunity for the utility’s new and existing leadership team to lend their perspectives and insights into the direction of DC Water’s future.
RFC is assisting DC Water with the development and implementation of a Board-driven strategic plan called Blue Horizon 2020. The objectives of this planning process were to:
- Design and implement a Board of Directors-driven process for DC Water resulting in a well-defined strategic plan
- Refine and present the utility’s vision, values, mission, goals, objectives, and initiatives
- Enhance the clarity of the Board’s role in envisioning, enacting, and evaluating the strategic plan
- Assure alignment between the overall vision, mission, and future activities
- Allocate resources to those strategies and projects that move DC Water toward its desired future
- Document and communicate DC Water’s strategic direction
- Align strategies and action plans with the Board’s overall goals
The strategic planning process included a series of meetings and workshops with the DC Water Board, Executive Management, and Strategic Planning Committee to gather their input and to ensure their buy-in of the strategic plan. DC Water’s plan has been developed, accepted, and endorsed by the Board and Executive Management, and it reflects input and thinking from the various jurisdictions DC Water serves.
To assure that the Blue Horizon 2020 plan is a living document, RFC is currently assisting DC Water with the development of implementation plans for accomplishing the tasks necessary to meet the objectives of the strategic plan. These plans and updates on the progress towards achieving the stated objectives have become an integral element of the Board’s governance process and Executive Management’s budgeting and management processes. Implementation of this plan will enable DC Water to:
- Develop, maintain, and recruit a high-performing workforce
- Collaborate locally, regionally, and nationally
- Increase Board focus on strategic direction
- Enhance customer/stakeholder confidence, communications, and perception
- Assure financial sustainability and integrity
- Assure safety and security
- Consider DC Water’s role in drinking water treatment
- Optimally manage infrastructure
- Enhance operating excellence through innovation and adoption of best practices
By accomplishing the above, DC Water will achieve its vision of being a world-class utility.
Financial Planning and Rate Consulting
RFC is under a long-term contract to provide financial planning, rate sustainability consulting, and management consulting services for DC Water.
Under this contract, RFC has conducted two cost of service studies. The most recent cost of service study included four major project deliverables: assuring the sufficiency of projected revenue to cover projected expenditures; calculating cost of service-based rates and comparing them to projected rates; reviewing miscellaneous fees and charges; and, recommending rate structure alternatives that enhance priority pricing objectives of DC Water.
As part of the COS Study, RFC also looked at the DC Water impervious area charge implemented to recover costs associated with stormwater management and combined sewer overflows. RFC reviewed and validated capital cost projections and units of services upon which charges were based. We offered an opinion on the sufficiency of revenue generation to cover long-term costs and recommendations on how the program may be enhanced. Results of the cost of service study, along with a comprehensive report and revenue sufficiency/cost of service model, were presented to the Retail Rates Committee of the Board in 2012.
RFC continues to provide a variety of financial, rate, and management consulting services for DC Water.