Top Trends in Energy and Utility Compliance in 2015

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Complí Polls Cross-industry Experts to Weigh In on Top Compliance Concerns Facing Energy and Utilities Industries

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By normalizing policy content and legal language, reconciling audit bodies and regional entities, and by ensuring compliance across new individuals and teams, utility and energy companies can build a resilient compliance system for long term success.

Regulatory compliance issues remain front and center for U.S. energy and utility companies. Complí®, a leading provider of workforce compliance management software recently polled cross-industry experts to share their opinions on the top concerns facing energy and utility organizations in 2015 and opportunities for compliance program improvements.

2015 Top Compliance Concerns
Experts cite challenges associated with declining budgets; increasingly complex and unpredictable regulatory compliance standards; and societal changes resulting from a multigenerational workforce as the biggest issues.

“While the median compliance and ethics program budgets across all industries hovered around $1.9 million in 2014, Chief Compliance and Ethics Officers in the energy and utilities industries have not been as fortunate. In fact, budgets for 2015 are anticipated to top out at $1.1m for energy companies and only $665,000 for utilities. Given these financial constraints, it is imperative that compliance and ethics programs work now to extend their reach and scale their impact. Looking into the coming two years, we anticipate that this will be one of the biggest challenges—and areas for tremendous success if done effectively—for compliance and ethics programs.” – Jennifer Kugler, senior director, CEB

“Ever-increasing regulations combined with a major generational shift in the workforce where retiring Baby Boomers are now met by Millennials, Gen-X and Gen-Y employees entering the workforce have placed unprecedented pressures on compliance programs. Integrated policy management systems help to ensure policies are keeping up with changes in requirements, business operations and risk assessments within an organization. By normalizing policy content and legal language, reconciling audit bodies and regional entities, and by ensuring compliance across new individuals and teams, utility and energy companies can build a resilient compliance system for long term success. — Rob Warmack, CEO of Complí

“Utilities have seen regulatory requirements and changes triple in the past few years and are struggling with compliance operating in disparate siloed processes and systems. It’s not uncommon for utility companies to have dozens of processes supported by various customized and commercial applications pieced together for different aspects of GRC. The result is a departmentalized approach to compliance that creates redundancies, gaps vulnerabilities and inefficiencies. In 2015 and beyond, energy and utility organizations look to optimize GRC strategies through a consistent information and technology architecture that supports a range of processes, which will enable them to be more efficient, effective and agile in a demanding risk and regulatory environment.” — Michael Rasmussen, Chief GRC Pundit and Principal Analyst, GRC 20/20

Building a Resilient Compliance System
“We have all heard the often used quote: ‘The only thing that is constant is change,’ so it’s true that we continue to see changes and new developments in the business sector centered on regulatory compliance. With these challenges, companies need to find ways of partnering both Compliance and IT groups together in alignment of tasks, responsibilities and commitments to find success. The process of getting alignment between these groups can be difficult; however, the alignment process can be successful by embracing proactive leadership, a clear mandate, valid monitoring and aligned incentives.” — Joe Polen, Director of Regulatory Compliance, Iberdrola Renewables

Polen shared the following advice for building a resilient compliance system for your workforce:

  • A clear leader must be identified with a focused vision and the authority to execute initiatives and programs
  • Identify business owners and accountability of all compliance requirements
  • Focus on communicating a culture of compliance with clearly stated objects
  • Align the workforce by forming workgroups made up of both HR, Operations, IT and Compliance personnel
  • Separate and distinguish tasks as ‘implementer” role of IT or “tracker” role of compliance
  • Identify points of risk and use controls to mitigate, automate if possible

Learn more at the SCCE Utilities and Energy Compliance and Ethics Conference

Rob Warmack from Complí; Joe Polen from Iberdola Renewables; Jennifer Kugler from CEB; and other experts from the industry will be discussing key issues and trends and sharing strategies for building effective compliance programs at the SCCE Utilities and Energy Compliance and Ethics Conference, Feb 22-25, 2015 in Houston Texas. Learn more and register at http://www.corporatecompliance.org/utilities

About Complí
Complí was founded in 2000 with a simple but ambitious goal: make workforce compliance management and reporting easy, efficient and worry-free. With over 15 years of experience in the compliance field, Complí delivers solutions across highly regulated industries including energy and utilities, automotive, financial services, healthcare, and more, enabling organizations to rest easy knowing all their compliance activities are efficiently managed in one integrated, easy-to-use system. Complí embraces cutting edge technology that streamlines and automates compliance and business process management in ways never before possible. For more information, visit http://www.compli.com/.

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Heather Racicot
Compli
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