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District Energy System

General Manager's Corner

Tim HestleFall 2013
By: Tim Hestle

It's Football Time in Tennessee

Fall is here again. Temperatures are beginning to cool off, the leaves are beginning to change colors, and to borrow a phrase from the former University of Tennessee radio announcer John Ward, “It’s football time in Tennessee.” Football is a part of our community and organization in a number of ways, as several of our employees are involved with youth football, every Saturday is college game day, and LP Field, home of the Tennessee Titans, is one of our district energy system customers.

If you were to think of the Nashville District Energy System (DES) in football terms, the following might come to mind: Since the energy generation facility is located near Riverfront Park and the energy distribution system piping is either buried or runs through tunnels for several blocks under the downtown streets, our stadium would be considered the city of Nashville’s downtown area.

In Nashville, Constellation’s team is made up of several individuals. The head coach is the plant manager. The assistant coaches are the other managers and office support staff. The quarterback is the operations manager. The team captains are the department supervisors, and the players consist of our talented operations, maintenance and electrical employees. The instrumentation and controls personnel would be considered our special team’s players.

You may be asking, how does the district energy system game work?

Whom do you play?

Our opponents are equipment failures, system upsets, both in the plant and in the distribution system, and DES projects.

What are the rules?

The rules are spelled out in our operating and maintenance contract with the city. Metro, as the system owner, has a consultant who acts on their behalf as a referee.

How do you play defense?

We attempt to keep employees engaged through communication, training and team-building activities. By performing preventive and predictive maintenance, we try to stop breakdowns from occurring before they happen, whether with equipment or personnel.  

When you are on offense, how do you move the ball?

When a breakdown does occur, we repair it as quickly as possible. If a piece of operating equipment trips off line, it is put back on immediately. Other plays consist of customer service, sales and marketing, and meeting goals such as zero lost-time accidents and zero environmental violations.

So, how do you score?

The goal line is the DES customer buildings. When we deliver steam and chilled-water service in a manner that serves the customers’ needs, we score. We also score when our contractual obligations to the city are met. The fans are the building owners and their tenants.

I am proud of the fact that for the past 10 years we have gone virtually undefeated. As we continue to meet our guarantees, our record is 99.9 percent reliability, 99.9 percent efficiency and 100 percent customer satisfaction. Nashville District Energy System plans to extend our winning performance for the coming season.