The City of Corona, Department of Water and Power (DWP) is wedged between affluent areas of Orange County and more rural areas to the west. Traditionally, there has been an uneasy balance between customers wanting leaner service offerings at a lower cost and a similar-sized group of customers wanting more services at a moderate additional cost. Each group often compares costs and services to those of the surrounding communities. A recent rate increase after a seven-year pause was the catalyst to reignite the debate over service levels and costs. In response, the DWP hired Raftelis to perform a comprehensive audit of the services and the value customers receive, following processes compatible with a Municipal Services Review (MSR).
The audit is reviewing all the major aspects of how the DWP operates from its organization and management through its business processes, relationships with other departments, and operations. Using Raftelis’ tested Engage-Assess-Compare-Enhance methodology, and following MSR principals, the DWP is learning how it compares with similar entities using a series of benchmarks, as well as national utility data. Raftelis is also looking beyond the numbers at business processes and practices to see how DWP aligns with industry best practices. Raftelis is layering its analysis with Lean techniques to review the efficiency and effectiveness of practices, and an assessment of technologies such as the city’s ERP, Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS), and other major platforms. The results of the audit are showing the DWP how much value it provides compared to other utilities and where it can provide more value.
Raftelis has identified changes in procurement practices, for example, to better utilize the already lean number of staff in the department. A variety of specific workflow changes and the addition of business analysis and project management resources to support DWP strategic efforts.