Issue link: http://powerlines.uberflip.com/i/744399
November 2016 | Volume 29 • Number 11 | www.powersouth.com/powerlines | email@example.com across division lines Employee collaboration at its best Powerlines The annual load forecast and budget—critical planning tools for PowerSouth—represent a monumental collaborative effort among employees and between PowerSouth and its members. Together, these tools not only project member energy needs but also guide how PowerSouth plans to serve the members reliably and economically. Projecting member needs Approved by the Board of Trustees in October, the load forecast is an educated prediction of energy resources needed to meet the members' needs over the next 20 years. Fuel and purchased power costs determined in the load forecast represent the largest portion of PowerSouth's costs. As in all other aspects of the cooperative, members are at the heart of the process. "It all starts with the members," said Bob Bentley, PowerSouth Bulk Power Analyst. "The load forecasting process begins with meetings with each distribution system to discuss consumer growth, commercial load growth, loss of existing load and the need for new substations." The members' forecasts are aggregated to develop PowerSouth's load forecast. In turn, Bentley and his coworkers combine the load forecast with additional data such as fuel and purchased power needs, generation statistics, maintenance schedules and dependable capacities for PowerSouth's energy resources. Finally, the Bulk Power team inputs the data into a generation dispatch program that helps determine the most economical means to meet PowerSouth's member needs. "We model all available resources to project generation costs," Bentley said. "The model 'crunches the numbers' into a form that Finance and Accounting uses to develop the budget." Balancing the budget Like any other business, PowerSouth must project how much revenue is needed from energy sales based on the cost of the work plans of the cooperative. This process is known as budgeting. PowerSouth's budget, an estimate of revenue and expenses, combines load forecast data with transmission and distribution, power plant operation and maintenance, administrative and general, and depreciation and interest expenses to project member rates and establish fixed costs. PowerSouth Accounting Supervisor Tammy Foley said the budget is the ultimate form of collaboration because it involves the entire cooperative. "The budget has many parts, but we all have the same goal in mind—achieving the lowest rate possible for our members," Foley said. The Board of Trustees approved the 2017 budget in October. g (Above) PowerSouth employees Bob Bentley and Tammy Foley review the budget before a committee meeting. Prefer to read an electronic version of Powerlines? Visit www.powersouth.com/powerlines to access our e-newsletter.