Consulting

The energy industry has grown increasingly complex. Fragmented electricity markets, volatile fuel prices and shifting regulations make it difficult for communities, utilities and large energy users to manage their energy risk.

Over the last 30 years, Avant’s consulting team has successfully guided its clients through the unpredictable and ever-changing energy landscape and delivered customized solutions that deliver immediate and long-term value.

Our in-house team has diverse backgrounds in management, finance, engineering, economics, accounting, and law. This allows us to address a wide range of issues, create value for our clients and deliver cost-effective solutions.

Our energy consulting services include Strategic Planning, Power Supply Planning, Utility Formation, Cost of Service & Rate Design, Utility Operations, Business Model Transformation, Organizational Assessment,  and Community & Stakeholder Engagement:

Strategic Planning

Strategic Planning

We help guide utilities, communities, and large energy users through a comprehensive strategic planning process regarding energy issues.  We work with clients to review and revise their mission, vision, and values around energy supply and delivery.  We facilitate stakeholder engagement processes to ensure broad participation in the planning process.  We develop presentations and conduct meetings to communicate the results of the strategic planning process to policymakers, management, and community members.

Power Supply Planning

Power Supply Planning

Utilities need a comprehensive roadmap for providing reliable and least-cost electric service to customers while addressing the substantial risks and uncertainties inherent in the electric utility business. We help utilities develop strategic plans and assess long-run economic and operational performance of alternative resource portfolios.

Specifically, Avant assists utilities in:

• Evaluating short and long-term capacity requirements through robust load projection methodologies
• Analyzing the impact of demand side management programs and customer-owned generation on future load requirements
• Developing a diversified energy supply plan that includes new renewable and conventional generating capacity, power purchases, energy conservation, and cogeneration and district energy. Evaluating the impact of technological change on generation planning and customer consumption and generation
• Identifying risks and developing mitigation plans
• Assessing regulatory changes and developing compliance plans

Utility Formation

Utility Formation

We help our clients to become their own provider and distributor of electricity. Avant supports clients in building and operating independent, economically viable, and reliable utilities.

Avant has extensive experience in all phases of utility formation, including:

• Assessing the viability of an electric utility
• Facilitating legal and regulatory requirements
• Conducting wholesale and retail price analysis
• Evaluating alternative business model constructs and power supply scenarios
• Developing a business plan and pro forma financials
• Assisting with incumbent utility negotiations

Cost of Service & Rate Design

Cost of Service & Rate Design

We work with clients to ensure that rates are fair and competitive through our cost of service and rate design offerings.  In addition to setting rates, we also perform a comprehensive analysis of historical utility costs to identify areas for cost reduction or efficiency improvements.  We have also developed innovative rate structures to support economic development within communities.  We provide clients with dynamic software tools that can be used to make future rate adjustments.  We support clients in communicating the rationale and justification for rate changes to policy makers and utility customers.

Utility Operations

Utility Operations

Avant helps clients strengthen operations, reduce costs, and decrease environmental impact—three objectives that are difficult to achieve simultaneously.

Avant helps clients succeed through:

• Electricity and fuel price exposure mitigation through hedging and risk management practices
• Process improvement and cost reduction
• Load forecasting improvements
• Generation dispatch strategy review
• Distributed generation planning and rate structures
• Regulatory compliance, including NERC and regional reliability standards as well as ISO market compliance

Business Model Transformation

Business Model Transformation

The electric utility industry is undergoing an unprecedented period of rapid transformation.  The old monopolistic business model is no longer applicable in many parts of the country.  Utilities must adapt to become more competitive in the face of technological and regulatory changes that are providing customers with increased choices regarding electricity sources, self-generation, and storage.  We partner with clients to develop strategies and rate design alternatives focused on retaining existing customers while also attracting new load.  We help both management and policymakers engage in organizational transition to become more customer focused to better compete in this changed utility landscape.

Organizational Assessment

Organizational Assessment

Utilities must carefully manage costs to be able to offer competitive rates to residents and businesses. We perform organizational assessments for utilities that take a comprehensive look at staffing levels, business processes and procedures, training, and financial metrics across all utility operating departments. We help utilities improve operational efficiency through the implementation and use of industry best practices. In addition, we support utilities with leadership and succession planning. We provide objective and impartial advice to utility management and policymakers on opportunities for improvement.

Community & Stakeholder Engagement

Community & Stakeholder Engagement

Community members are increasingly engaged and often have strong opinions on energy-related issues.  We work with cities, utilities, and others to conduct broad community and stakeholder engagement around energy topics.  Our approach is inclusive and uses a variety of techniques including public meetings and surveys to ensure that all perspectives are heard and considered.  We evaluate all input received and include our own analysis and insights to provide a concise report to support good decision making by clients on challenging energy issues.

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