Capital Power’s CIO Helps the Firm’s Bottom Line

Capital Power is a growth-oriented North American power producer headquartered in Edmonton, Alberta. The company develops, acquires, operates and optimizes power generation from a variety of energy sources. Capital Power owns more than 3,200 megawatts of power generation capacity at 18 facilities across North America. More than 700 megawatts of owned generation capacity is in advanced development in Alberta and Kansas. Darryl Vleeming is the company’s vice president of information services and CIO. As such, he is responsible for all information services spend, excluding technology, connected directly to the company’s plant control systems. As he tells CIO Insight contributor Peter High, he also has to be a big contributor of the company’s bottom line.

Peter High: How have you organized your team in terms of direct reports and roles?

Darryl Vleeming: I have five direct reports. They are responsible for the following:

  • Architecture: responsible for planning and architecture
  • Project Delivery: responsible for all project delivery
  • Infrastructure: responsible for infrastructure operations such as servers, network, service desk, desktop, etc.
  • ERP Applications: responsible for operation of all ERP-related applications, including our computerized maintenance management system (CMMS)
  • Commercial Portfolio Management and Corporate Applications: responsible for operation of all CPM and all non-ERP applications

High: Please provide some examples of the strategic use of technology in the context of Capital Power.

Vleeming: Our team implemented energy management operations center software and a business intelligence solution that was so successful that we now offer it as a service to multiple other participants in the Alberta Power market. We also developed a custom business intelligence solution used to manage our wind farms in real time, and [another one] used to manage our long-term forecasts (everything from economic indicators to power prices) and analysis as it relates to acquisitions, divestures and new construction around North America.

We also have implemented a custom business intelligence solution used by our traders to manage all aspects of their trading operation, from their position to their profit and loss statements. The team developed a custom business intelligence solution for our executive team that allows them to see key financial metrics, key operational metrics, and current trading position and P&L.

We have validated that we have an extremely cost-effective information systems group. Booz & Co. has ranked us in the top quartile in our costs, compared to peer power companies. As such, we are a direct contributor to the bottom line of the enterprise.

Related to that, we implemented a new ERP solution and processes with a return on investment of 22 percent, saving Capital Power millions annually. We also implemented a new Energy Trading Risk Management (ETRM) system with an ROI of 14 percent, while reducing the risk to Capital Power of non-compliant traders.

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