Strategic Directives

It is a time of monumental change in the utility industry. Utilities must embrace innovation and move quickly to find new and better ways to deliver affordable, reliable, and environmentally sensitive services to its customers.

With this in the mind, the Tacoma Public Utility Board launched policy development of Government Process, Board-Director Linkage, and Strategic Directives.

The Government Process Policies are processes for how the Board will govern itself. The Board-Director linkage policies clarify how the Board expects the Director of the Utilities to carry out the work of TPU. The Strategic Directives capture the performance for which the Board will hold TPU accountable on behalf of its ratepayers.

As Strategic Directives are adopted by the Board, we will share them here and provide information on the purpose, values, outcomes, measurement, and reporting for each one.

Strategic Directive: Equity and Inclusion

Adopted Aug. 28, 2019

Purpose

TPU is committed to achieving equity and inclusion in its workforce, service delivery, policy decision making, and community/stakeholder engagement.

Values

  1. TPU serves all rate payers and residents without regard to race, color, sex, religion, creed, age, marital status, national origin, citizenship status, sexual orientation, gender identity, veterans status, or the presence of any physical, sensory or mental disability.
  2. TPU values diversity and what each individual brings to TPU and the community.
  3. TPU believes equity is achieved when everyone has access to the resources and opportunities necessary to satisfy their essential needs, advance their well-being, and achieve their full potential.
  4. TPU will work to be inclusive, building a culture of involvement, respect, and connection where the richness of ideas, backgrounds, and perspectives are harnessed to create value.
  5. The TPU Board supports the Tacoma City Council Resolution 39019 Equity and Empowerment Initiative Framework and is committed to its five primary goals:
      • The City of Tacoma workforce reflects the community it serves;
      • Purposeful community outreach and engagement;
      • Equitable service delivery to all residents and visitors;
      • Support human rights and opportunities for everyone to achieve their full potential;
      • Commitment to equity in local government decision-making.

Read more about this strategic directive.

Strategic Directive: Financial Sustainability

Adopted Aug. 28, 2019

Purpose

TPU will secure its commitment to provide safe and reliable power, water, and rail services over the long term by maintaining sustainable budget, financial, and asset management practices.

Values

  1. TPU believes long-term financial planning that accounts for internal and external risks results in sustainable utilities budgets and reasonably stable utilities rates.
  2. TPU values responsible stewardship and recognizes that utilities bills are paid by customers and resulting revenue is therefore limited.  Each biennial budget must therefore be carefully and reasonably limited.
  3. TPU believes financial, business, and capital planning should be based on regularly updated forecasts.
  4. TPU believes it is prudent to pay for long-lived capital assets by spreading the costs over the life of those assets.
  5. TPU believes prudent and stable financial and business planning anticipates unexpected future events by requiring adequate cash reserves and insurance.
  6. TPU values good stewardship of utilities rates paid by customers by leveraging external funding sources where prudent.

Read more about this strategic directive.

Strategic Directive: Rates

Adopted Aug. 28, 2019

Purpose

TPU rates for power, water, and rail services play an important role in securing a strong economy, establishing equity among customers, and producing revenue sufficient to provide safe, reliable, and environmentally-sensitive utilities services.  TPU strives to ensure rates will be adequate, fair, just, and reasonable.

Values

  1. TPU values utilities rates that produce sustainable and sufficient revenue to ensure reliable utility operations while meeting all debt-service requirements.
  2. TPU values fair and just utilities rates that equitably assign costs of providing services to each customer class.
  3. TPU values proactive community engagement as part of proposed rate adjustments.
  4. TPU values planning gradual and consistent utility rate changes that are stable and predictable over the long term and avoid sudden or large changes within customer classes.

Read more about this strategic directive.

Strategic Directive: Stakeholder Engagement

Adopted Aug. 28, 2019

Purpose

TPU is committed to proactive engagement and open dialogue with customers and other stakeholders to understand their needs and improve service that informs decision-making while enhancing community understanding of TPU’s operations, programs, and services.

Values

  1. As a publicly-owned, municipal utility, TPU values the relationship with our owners (citizens of Tacoma), customers, and stakeholders.
  2. TPU believes in open and transparent governance.
  3. TPU values robust, ubiquitous, and equitable customer and stakeholder engagement throughout our service territories.
  4. TPU believes in continually evolving our customer and stakeholder engagement efforts to equitably engage customers and stakeholders in their preferred manner.
  5. TPU believes that the City of Tacoma’s General Government and other local governments within our territory are essential partners to effectively engage the communities we serve.
  6. TPU values working with community partners to better engage the diverse communities we serve.

Read more about this strategic directive.

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