Stakeholders from across the Air Force and DOD met at the Air Force Civil Engineer Center (AFCEC) to streamline the process for turning over utility systems to the private sector.
Officials from headquarters Air Force, AFCEC’s Installations and Energy directorates, and the Defense Logistics Agency Energy, along with Air Force legal counsel, major command utilities privatization representatives and installation contracting officer representatives, focused on eliminating redundancies from the existing process for privatizing water, wastewater, electric and natural gas utilities, reported the AFCEC Installations directorate.
“We have to change in today’s business environment; the military has been naive in this realm,” said Robert Moriarty, director of the Installations directorate.
“It’s about conserving resources and taking a business approach to utilities privatization and portfolio management. There is engineering involved, but in the end it’s business that we’re doing here, as it should be,” he said.
Another focus of the week-long “rapid improvement” event was the post-award period, according to AFCEC.
Bringing together key stakeholders “provided an opportunity for identification and proper articulation of problem areas and understanding of UP [utilities privatization] post-award processes such as portfolio management and post-conveyance reviews,” said Debra Harkiewicz, AFCEC’s UP portfolio management branch chief. “Challenges and processes that we had been working on over the last nine months were brought to closure in less than five days,” she said.
To date, the Air Force has privatized 66 privatized water, wastewater, electric and natural gas utility systems valued at $3.6 billion. When the Air Force privatizes a utility, it conveys the entire system permanently to a municipal, private, regional, district or cooperative utility company. The agreement also includes a utility service contract for operations, maintenance and recapitalization for a period of no more than 50 years.