Utility Plants Increasing Self-Assessment; Reducing Staff

Staffing has decreased, and so have plant enhancements -- while self-assessment and documentation have gotten more attention at utility plants. That's what participants have reported in the recent Survey on Engineering Changes in the Utilities Sector, conducted in late 1998 by engineering consulting firm Altran Corp., Boston. More than three-quarters (79%) say that plant staffing has decreased. Cited as the area of most significant change: on-site engineers and technical staff (64%). Forty-three percent say their organization's centralized engineering staff has undergone the most significant change; 39% say the greatest change is in management. "Plant enhancements" is the work activity most often reported as having received decreased attention (46%). Nearly three-quarters (72%) say their organization's focus on self-assessments has increased; 65% report increased focus on maintaining plant design basis/documentation. Sixty-six percent cite increased focus on awareness of plant/system performance, and nearly 60% cite increased focus on outage preparation and support.

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