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Building Project Teams that Deliver Excellent Results

Pacific Gas & Electric

PG&E’s Kern County division vegetation management ranked second to last for quality control across the company and became the gold standard within two years after DRG took over the account.

The Challenge

Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) is the nation’s largest electric utility, with nearly 5.5 million customers across California. PG&E maintains approximately 5,500 miles of high voltage utility lines in Kern County, CA, including the county seat of Bakersfield and surrounding rural areas.

In the early 2010s, issues with scheduling, forecast, and compliance with contract specifications made PG&E’s Kern Division the company’s second-lowest ranking division for vegetation management. When the pre-inspection contract came up for renewal, the decision was made to switch to Davey Resource Group, Inc. (DRG) for pre-inspection services.

The Solution

When the contract began, DRG managers and PG&E’s local leadership developed a strategy to institute changes in workflows and team culture with the goal of improving performance measures for the division.

DRG’s primary objective was to initiate a program of regular training on procedures, expectations, and priorities to bring the team up to date on all current PG&E procedures. A DRG manager worked on-site and remained available to answer questions from pre-inspection work team members. Monthly team planning sessions were expanded to include training, covering two to three PG&E procedures each month as well as safety training.

DRG instituted a number of additional measures to improve quality control and performance metrics. Operating procedures were standardized to improve speed and efficiency, including a higher efficiency mapping routine. Changes were made to scheduling procedures to facilitate a more even distribution of work throughout the year. DRG management took steps to enforce existing procedures to improve results in all areas.

And perhaps most importantly to PG&E, the team worked to promote PG&E’s Vegetation Management program as a community asset. The project team refocused efforts on customer satisfaction and organizing outreach events to share information about the benefits of the program with the public.

The Results

  • Compliance violations dropped steadily until 100% compliance scores were reached.
  • Formerly wild fluctuations in work schedules have given way to a consistent distribution of work throughout the year, enabling more sustainable and productive workflows for tree trimming crews.
  • The number of trees removed has been consistently well within PG&E’s forecasted expectations, which enabled them to effectively address an excessive number of dead and dying trees that resulted from extended drought conditions.
  • In addition, relations between the DRG’s pre-inspection team and tree trimming crews have improved substantially, providing PG&E and their customers in the Kern Division to experience improved results.

As a result of DRG’s focus on training and quality control, the Kern Division has become the gold standard in the system for consistently on schedule operations and near-perfect compliance scores.

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