Capital Funding & Improvement Planning – Utility Modeling Series

Utility Modeling Series
Capital Funding & Improvement Planning

3m Video

Utility Financial Modeling – Accelerated Capital Planning in Synario

Balancing a utility capital plan can be like walking a moving tightrope while carrying weights that keep on changing. Often times, utility finance professionals cannot reasonably plan every improvement and purchase that their utility needs in a given budget year due to funding constraints. That means that every improvement (and therefore bundle of improvements) need to be looked at through a strategic lense to find the best mixture of projects and initiatives that most benefit the utility as a whole.

Producing a comprehensive capital plan in Excel or other spreadsheet-based software can be nearly impossible. If you can incorporate every permutation of initiatives, improvements, and purchases into a spreadsheet-based model, it can quickly become bloated, slow, and potentially crash. Even if you overcome those problems, you will have a multitude of different model versions to compare and contrast, as they each contain a mixture of improvements and funding that could be what you are looking for.

Synario is a financial modeling software that cuts out the clutter and makes capital planning for utilities comprehensive and reliable.

In this video, we will cover how financial professionals can plan their capital improvements and funding using Synario's intuitive charts and dashboards. We will also show how you can group improvements, funding, and other assumptions into coherent scenarios that can be easily compared and contrasted, so finding the best trajectory for your utility becomes more streamlined and simplified.

You can learn more about how Synario helps utility companies plan their future with more clarity and insight by visiting our dedicated utility financial modeling software page.

Video Transcript

In this series, we’ll cover how you can quickly and efficiently model various aspects of a utility company, including capital planning, operational planning, scenarios, and more.

In this video, we’ll be starting off by showing how Synario makes capital funding & improvement planning much easier than standard spreadsheet-based financial models.

Many utilities have a Capital Improvement Program that far outweighs their ability to fund every initiative. That’s why virtually all utilities model their capital improvements through a strategic lens – to see which capital improvements should be funded first and which can be funded at a later date.

Some larger utilities are weighing hundreds of projects and purchases ranging from the administration, design, and construction of new multi-million dollar facilities to the purchase of additional company vehicles.

Today, we are going to show you how Synario can accelerate your analysis and help you find the right mixture of funding and improvements for your unique utility.

Synario Intro

Here you can see an example utility model in Synario. Financial data has been loaded into the model so all projections are up to date and projecting 5 years into the future.

On our Synario dashboard, we can see our operating statement and key ratios projected out until 2025. Above, we have various capital initiatives shown as on off switches. Right now, they are all in the off position, so we are seeing our operating statement without any impacts from capital purchases and improvements.

Capital Improvements

Lets jump to our initiative assumptions and see how each capital improvement is set up. You can see here that we have a range of projects and initiatives ranging from high cost and multi-step, like the New Facility and New Infrastructure initiatives, to low cost and only one year, like the vehicle fleet purchase.

We can turn these initiatives on and off to see the impacts on my operating statement and key ratios and metrics. Alternatively, we can select one specific initiative to see the difference between that one initiative and our baseline projection.

If we want to add a new component to a project, lets say we need to add the cost of materials for our new facility, we can simply add a new line with the cost of materials, add it to our overarching New Facility initiative, and see our dashboard update automatically.

Capital Funding

Now lets add different funding sources into our projection to help offset the cost of our capital improvements. Jumping back to our initiative assumptions at the top of our dashboard, we can switch over to see our Capital Funding sources and find that we have a few bond issuances generating project funds for us, as well as Pay-go funding, and federal and state funding programs.

Synario is completely customizable, so adding in industry-specific funds is easy. In this example, lets add in SRF and WIFIA funding related to water utilities.

We can also add these different capital funding initiatives as on / off switches on the operating statement below.

You may be thinking, “this looks great, but I don’t need to see all of my capital improvements and funding individually. I need something where I can view coherent scenarios and analyze their collective impact.” For that, lets switch to a scenario-based view.


On this dashboard we have our different scenarios on top labeled baseline, alternative 1, 2, and 3. Below, we have different financial reports so we can see how the different mixtures of capital improvements and funding effect our example utility.

By selecting the alternative 1 scenario, we can turn on a few improvements and funding sources, then select that scenario across our different reports to see our new projection. We can also compare scenarios and isolate the differences on your operating statement, metrics, and ratios.

Other team members can explore these dashboards as well without impacting the underlying model, making capital planning a more collaborative exercise.

Wrap Up

So to wrap up, Synario allows you to:

  • Quantitatively support your financial narrative.
  • Develop alternative scenarios to drive conversation and consensus.
  • Change assumptions in real-time to facilitate ideation…
  • Make siloed financial modeling analysis accessible, shareable and collaborative.

By allowing users to toggle initiatives and scenarios on and off, our clients are able to plan a better future for their utility while continuing to provide cost-effective services to growing customer-bases across the country.

Contact us if you would like to see how Synario could benefit your unique utility.