workforce. We have also experienced the effects of decreased water usage—the result of a shift from 
textile production to the more water-efficient automotive, advance material and aerospace industries. 
We have been challenged by these disruptions and we address them with resiliency strategies that 
provide both short-term solutions to address the pressures, as well as long-term values that will position 
Spartanburg Water to continue to be agile as our community grows and the variability in our industry 
continues.  Spartanburg Water has remained agile and resilient by investing in new programs and ideas, 
including the introduction of our “Twice the Ice” business that has created a new revenue source to 
support the replacement of waterlines that have exceeded their useful service life. We have delivered 
20 million pounds of ice and directed $2 million dollars back from this investment to fund our five-year 
capital reinvestment plan to repair and replace aging infrastructure.  

That “outside the box” thinking is welcome in our culture, and we thrive on the new ideas and fresh 
vision from our team members whose only mandate is strict adherence to our mission to provide quality 
water and wastewater services to our customers and the community we serve. 

Spartanburg Water is also an innovator in green energy—we’ve been providing power to the R.B. Simms 
Water Treatment Facility through hydroelectric generators since 1926.  As the plant and community 
grew, our hydropower units shifted from meeting all of our power needs at R.B. Simms to functioning as 
a power offset for operations.  We now sell this green energy to our power provider, then buy it back at 
a lower rate, combining our water and power operations to maximize revenue from both.  We 
participate in the provider’s “Powershare” program, which allows the provider to utilize our emergency 
diesel generation capability when needed in return for credits and incentives far exceeding the cost of 
participation.  We have also begun implementing small solar power installations (typically 4 kW range) 
at various facilities to reduce dependence on grid power. 

We regularly solicit new ideas from employees, receiving 50 – 60 suggestions annually through the 
employee suggestion program. We hold regular roundtable discussions where we solicit feedback and 
ideas through collaborative discussions between executive staff and front-line employees.  Employees 
have contributed to efficiency of operations with numerous inventions.  For example our “Ziggy valve,” 
designed and built by staff, provides an easily installed, removed, and reused means of blocking sewer 
service laterals without the need to install permanent shutoff devices.  The “Pit Stick,” also employee 
designed and built, provides an easier, safer way to open manhole covers. 

We have recently made a large investment in upgrading our business and customer service computer 
systems to improve efficiency and improve the customer experience.    These upgrades: implement new 
technological capabilities and reduce manual processes where possible; upgrade electronic systems 
utilized by customers to provide more options; expand the capabilities of our Financial Systems, 
enhance financial info for managers, and provide accessibility to information for employees; and 
interface Purchasing & HR systems.  The upgrade paves the way for a Wireless Service Order System that 
utilizes cellular technology to assign work electronically to field services & eliminate paper service 
orders, eliminates the need for Customer Service calling service orders to the field, and allows closing of 
service orders real time in the field, giving immediate information to Customer Service as to field status, 
thus allowing timelier response to customers.  It also provides an enhanced portal with a more user 
friendly format for customers to view their bills online, view consumption and billing history, view 
account information, and report outages or other problems.  Mobile applications enable customers to 
view & pay their bill, and report outages or other problems from their smart phone or tablet.