FROM THE DESK OF MARK WILLIAMSON
Dear Friends and Colleagues:
Over the years I have observed that one can dramatically improve the probability of getting needed utility infrastructure projects built and in service on time by managing the project as a political campaign, not as an engineering problem. Approaching your project armed with the tools and strategy politicians employ to get elected can get your power plant, transmission line, pipeline or other necessary system addition in service faster, cheaper and with less lawsuits. It’s true.
At PRW, we have successfully put into service more than 300 miles of new 345 kV transmission line and thousands of miles of lower voltage transmission systems since 2002. We have been directly involved in the successful building of coal fired and natural gas powered plants as well as natural gas pipelines. Both as utility executives and as strategic communication professionals we have experienced hands-on management in dozens of successful utility projects.
Many projects, such as the recently completed Arrowhead-Weston transmission line in Wisconsin, have seen significant opposition that eventually was overcome to get the project in service. Other projects – even those following closely behind Arrowhead-Weston – have seen no significant opposition after employing political campaign techniques. Most have had to face involved regulatory proceedings before moving forward.
These projects have been successful because they were approached from the beginning as political campaigns.
“Electing transmission lines, power plants and pipelines to public office” is a metaphor we use at PRW for approaching these projects as an elected candidate would.
Using election techniques – polling, town meetings, open houses, advertising, door-to-door visits – can dramatically change the debate about a project’s merits. We have the first-hand experience to bring the winning playbook to these projects.
We look forward to working with you and your team in implementing these techniques so they can be applied to future projects.