Sep 2, 2014

How to Effectively Manage The Work Force of your Utility

4 min
For many utilities, success begins with its employees. Training and retaining an experienced work force is extremely important to keeping the busines...

For many utilities, success begins with its employees. Training and retaining an experienced work force is extremely important to keeping the business alive for years to come. Keeping your employees happy begins with strategic management—which ultimately comes from the top. So, what are some techniques to ensure your work force is being managed correctly?

Focus on Key Ideas
What is most important to your company? What do you value above everything else? Whatever your answer to this question is, it’s important that it gets emphasized to your employees from the top of the organization to those in entry-level positions. This not only helps your utility achieve its goals based on the ideas important to the organization, but promotes a sense of unity since all employees have something to work toward and a guiding principle to do so. This is important since utilities are often run on a large scale, and the ideas presented within can become inconsistently very quickly.

Keep Communication Lines Open
There’s nothing more frustrating to employees than not knowing what’s going on. When it comes to company operations, keeping your employees informed is critical to success, as secretive personnel changes and broken lines of communication can bring any operation to a standstill. This is especially true when it comes to any sort of major changes within the company. Motivate your employees by keeping them in the loop and treating them with a certain amount of respect by informing them of internal business moves. A weekly company newsletter is always a welcome addition, especially if your utility is a multi-state or national operation. It keeps employees informed of goings on and makes them feel like they’re part of the company and not just a faceless worker.

Be Open to Implementing Worker Feedback
You might be surprised how many great ideas can come from one of your employees—you just have to be willing to listen. If someone thinks they have a better way of getting things done, it never hurts to listen. Not only do your employees feel that their opinion is valued, but they very well could be right and boost efficiency, thus saving money. Many companies derive their “best practices” internally from workers who know the jobs their doing better than anyone. While keeping channels of communication open, be sure to actually listen and think about what your employees are bringing to you.

Be Clear in your Communication
This is along the lines of the first point. Clarity so often falls by the wayside in the corporate world, leaving employees confused and often times working in the wrong direction. Emphasize priorities and be sure to let your team know what is it that needs to happen to successfully complete a job. This should start as soon as a new employee is hired to ensure that everyone is on the same page and the message is coming from a single, unified voice. When hiring a new technician, giving them tools and simply telling them to get to work will never pan out. Be sure to train and express to them what’s most important in the organization and why their work matters.

Be Generous in Giving Back to Your Employees
Much has been written recently about how the modern approach to the work week is outdated and unfair to workers. While this is more cultural than it is organizational, it’s still important to remember that your employees are going to get tired and have their limits. Be generous in rewarding them for their hard work. This doesn’t necessarily have to be in monetary terms, either. Provide lunch once a month, let them leave early, if applicable, let them work at home frequently. Happy employees are much more likely to stay with a company if they feel as though their work is valued. High turnover can be crippling to a business, so be sure to retain the talented employees by making them want to not only stay, but work hard.

Define Goals, Appoint Leaders
These work hand-in-hand. For a business to be successful, there needs to be an outcome of some kind for every project and initiative. Employees can’t feel like they’re working aimlessly toward nothing. This is aided by strong leaders who are able to drive productivity and help unify and focus a department or group. Pockets of employees without leadership are sure to get away from you and feel disconnected from the company as a whole. 

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Apr 16, 2021

Hydrostor receives $4m funding for A-CAES facility in Canada

Dominic Ellis
2 min
The funding will be used to complete essential engineering and planning, and enable Hydrostor to take critical steps toward construction
The funding will be used to complete essential engineering and planning, and enable Hydrostor to take critical steps toward construction...

Hydrostor has received $4m funding to develop a 300-500MW Advanced Compressed Air Energy Storage (A-CAES) facility in Canada.

The funding will be used to complete essential engineering and planning, and enable Hydrostor to plan construction. 

The project will be modeled on Hydrostor’s commercially operating Goderich storage facility, providing up to 12 hours of energy storage.

The project has support from Natural Resources Canada’s Energy Innovation Program and Sustainable Development Technology Canada.

Hydrostor’s A-CAES system supports Canada’s green economic transition by designing, building, and operating emissions-free energy storage facilities, and employing people, suppliers, and technologies from the oil and gas sector.

The Honorable Seamus O’Regan, Jr. Minister of Natural Resources, said: “Investing in clean technology will lower emissions and increase our competitiveness. This is how we get to net zero by 2050.”

A-CAES has the potential to lower greenhouse gas emissions by enabling the transition to a cleaner and more flexible electricity grid. Specifically, the low-impact and cost-effective technology will reduce the use of fossil fuels and will provide reliable and bankable energy storage solutions for utilities and regulators, while integrating renewable energy for sustainable growth. 

Curtis VanWalleghem, Hydrostor’s Chief Executive Officer, said: “We are grateful for the federal government’s support of our long duration energy storage solution that is critical to enabling the clean energy transition. This made-in-Canada solution, with the support of NRCan and Sustainable Development Technology Canada, is ready to be widely deployed within Canada and globally to lower electricity rates and decarbonize the electricity sector."

The Rosamond A-CAES 500MW Project is under advanced development and targeting a 2024 launch. It is designed to turn California’s growing solar and wind resources into on-demand peak capacity while allowing for closure of fossil fuel generating stations.

Hydrostor closed US$37 million (C$49 million) in growth financing in September 2019. 

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