Friday, January 11, 2008

Austin Energy - First Electric Utility with ISO 9001 Certification

In our quest to become the utility of the future, we have understood the importance of quality, business process innovation and the use of leading edge technologies to deliver clean, reliable, affordable energy and excellent customer service to our customers. The following is the press release that we put out on this great and first in the nation accomplishment by any electric utility.


Austin Energy Electric Service Delivery First in Country to Receive ISO 9001 Certification.

Austin Energy Electric Service Delivery (ESD), the business unit responsible for the construction, maintenance and operation of the electric transmission and distribution system in Austin has become the first of any utility in the nation to earn ISO 9001 registration.

ISO (International Organization for Standardization) 9000 is a series of international quality standards designed to ensure that all activities related to providing and delivering a product or service are appropriately quality assured. To earn the registration, applicants must develop a Quality Management System that reflects standards of performance and continual improvement of processes and services to its customer, in this case, in the delivery of electric power. ISO 9001 is the most complete and demanding standard in the ISO 9000 series.

Auditors from the National Standards Authority of Ireland (NASI), the worldwide entity that administers the ISO quality management program, issued the registration on January 3, 2008. The certification followed a rigorous four-day review in December of the ESD Quality Management System by NASI auditors.

“This required developing our quality management system in compliance with very high standards and documenting work procedures for how we perform every aspect of the job of installing and managing our electric system,” said Cheryl Mele, Senior VP, Electric Service Delivery. “Those policies and procedures must now be followed and records maintained that demonstrate consistently that the standards and procedures are met, and most importantly, that our results improve.”

That means, for instance, that if the 140,000 power poles in the Austin Energy system should be inspected once every ten years, records must show that those inspections occurred and that any required maintenance actions were taken.

The ISO auditors noted that procedures and written work instructions had been implemented for more than 530 work activities. “There was not a single instance found where procedures were not followed or consciously disregarded. This speaks very highly of the implementation team and the commitment by employees to fully embrace the system,” said the auditors in their report. The auditors were also impressed with the “tremendous amount of experience” of Austin Energy employees in their respective job functions.

The four-day audit included a review of the ESD quality management system, interviews with as many as 60 management and operational staff and a review of a range of work situations. Austin Energy staff has been preparing for ISO Registration for about a year. There are approximately 250,000 companies worldwide including 25,000 in the U.S. certified in the ISO 9000 series. Austin Energy transmission and distribution work units, however, are the first of any electric utility in the country to be so certified. Austin Energy plans to continue the ISO 9001 registration effort with their Customer Care business unit which includes the utility Customer Service Center, meter reading, billing and collections.


Having standard processes documented allow for easier automation via business process management and the deployment of a service oriented architecture to orchestrate the electrons, data and transactions that make our services a reality for our customers. Our corporate speed continues to increase as we work faster and faster as one impressively synchronized team.

I highly recommend that you get serious about quality.

No comments: