ALLETE (NYSE: ALE) is well positioned as a reliable provider of competitively priced energy in the upper Midwest, and invests in transmission infrastructure and other energy-centric businesses. ALLETE's Minnesota Power electric utility serves 144,000 residents, 16 municipalities and some of the nation's largest industrial customers. Other businesses include BNI Coal in North Dakota; ALLETE Clean Energy, a developer of energy projects; US Water Services, which provides integrated water services for industry; Superior Water, Light & Power in Superior, Wisconsin; ALLETE Renewable Resources, which operates and maintains wind generation facilities in North Dakota; and ALLETE Properties, which owns real estate in Florida.
Before implementing the Perillon solution, ALLETE managed its Environmental and Safety program manually. This meant scanning paper data from operator rounds, extracting data from multiple databases, emailing Excel spreadsheets, and re-entering into an Access database. Inefficiencies in data collection and report generation and time-consuming QA/QC of the information resulted in long prep times for required submittals. Other key issues included inconsistency of compliance task management and high staff turnover, which amounted to 90% over an eight-year period. With increased regulations and rapid expansion underway from acquisitions, ALLETE management identified a clear need to establish a modern, centralized EHS system to meet its challenges.
ALLETE has a consistent compliance record, which the company needed to maintain in the wake of recently increased regulations. Driven by a continuous-improvement culture, management wanted to mature its Environmental and Safety data programs and capture institutional knowledge centrally, lowering risks of non-compliance. ALLETE’s management needed a comprehensive view of compliance across their facilities and locations for both environmental and safety data. Efficiency was the primary objective; rather than arranging costly travel of corporate staff to remote locations, which created risks of data double-entry errors and time-consuming report preparation, ALLETE sought an “eyes in the field” system, looking to assign inspections at the site level. ALLETE also required robust dashboards to quickly analyze trends and make strategic decisions on changes needed to calibrate and standardize efforts across sites. Furthermore, the new solution had to be affordable, as ALLETE did not have the time nor budget to customize a system from scratch. Finally, ALLETE desired a system that could be easily implemented across the entire company, rather than be used only by the environmental and safety teams.