Veolia Environnement, an environmental and water services and technology provider, has hired the DeKalb County Department of Watershed Management (DWM) to help the county identify cost savings and help improve customer service by conducting a comprehensive and independent review of the county’s water and wastewater operations.
DeKalb County is Georgia’s third largest county, with more than 700,000 residents calling it home.
DWM provides services to 700,000 residents in the Atlanta metropolitan region through its system of water treatment and distribution, customer service, and wastewater collection and treatment.
This initiative could produce as much as $8 million in savings annually for DeKalb ratepayers, reducing costs and helping mitigate rate increases. The partnership is also expected to improve customer service and reduce wait times for customers.
As part of its scope, Veolia will work closely with DWM to conduct a thorough review of the utility’s administration, planning, operations, maintenance and capital programs, customer service, and billing and collections.
Veolia provides a Peer Performance Solutions (PPS) consulting model that is currently being used in Pittsburgh, New York City and Washington, D.C. The PPS model blends a public workforce and embedded private-sector experts to deliver sustainable best practices that accelerate innovation and efficiency improvements at public utilities.
In New York City, program implementation of this consulting model is on track to yield annual recurring financial benefits of more than $100 million by 2016. In Pittsburgh, Veolia’s PPS initiatives enabled a reduction in customer call waiting time of 50 percent after 6 months, the company said.
“Many of today’s municipal water and wastewater utilities are constantly challenged by rising operating and capital costs, making it harder for them to sustainably meet the growth needs of their communities,” said Bill DiCroce, executive vice president and chief operating officer for Veolia Environnement North America’s Municipal and Commercial business.
Following its initial assessment, Veolia will work with DWM to implement county-approved operations and management initiatives that will achieve measurable operational, revenue and organizational enhancements to ultimately reduce operating costs and improve service levels, allowing DWM to provide more efficient and sustainable services.
“DeKalb County’s leaders represent a new vision for utilities, where government and private-sector companies work together to ensure high performance levels and excellent service that is provided in a cost-effective manner,” said Terry Mah, president and CEO of Veolia Environnement North America.