Nova Scotia Power Inc, Canada


The present case study was documented by Paul R Niven (consultant and speaker on Performance Management related subjects) and illustrates the Balanced Scorecard implementation process at Nova Scotia Power Inc.


About Nova Scotia Power Inc

Nova Scotia Power Inc is an energy utility company that provides 95 % of the generation, transmission and distribution of electricity in Nova Scotia, Canada. The company with a history that goes back in 1885 manages today a generation, transmission and distribution asset portfolio of 3,5 billion dollars, produces over 13,000 gigawatt hour of electricity each year and serves over 485,000 residential, commercial and industrial customers. Its production facilities use a mix of hydro, tidal, wind, coal, oil and natural gas to generate electricity. The electricity is delivered to the end customer through a network of 5,000 kilometers of transmission and 25,000 kilometers of distribution lines. (Nova Scotia Power Inc website, 2010)


Starting from 1996, the company consists of three operating units: Power Production, Transmission and Distribution, Customer Service and Marketing, and several corporate resource groups such as Finance, Human Resources and Public Affairs.


Triggers of the Balanced Scorecard adoption at Nova Scotia Power Inc

Faced with changes in the utility industry, but also due to an internal business restructuring and realignment process which meant the transition to Strategic Business Units, Nova Scotia decided in 1996 the development of a new corporate strategy. As the new plan didn’t focus solely on financial performance goals, but took in considerations the needs of all key organizational stakeholders, including customers and employees, a new performance measurement system was decided to be introduced. The Balanced Scorecard system was decided to be adopted in order to serve the company strategic purpose.


While at its very beginning the Balanced Scorecard system at Nova Scotia Power Inc served strictly a measurement purpose, the new restructurings of the company in Strategic Business Units triggered a wave of changes in the BSC. Finally the Balanced Scorecard was linked with several critical systems such as the annual business plan and the budgeting process, being transformed in an integrated strategic performance management system that served the measurement, communication and strategic realignment purposes among others.


Roll out the Balanced Scorecard into organization

In order to secure the maximum effectiveness of the Balanced Scorecard system, it needs to be implemented at all organizational levels.


Before proceeding with this task, Nova Scotia Power Inc started the development process of the Balanced Scorecard at the corporate level in order to shape its strategic path and allow everyone on the organization a better understanding of the critical drivers of the company future success.


Nova Scotia Power Inc  - Strategic Directions


Balanced Scorecard Perspectives

  • Cut costs
  • Financial
  • Build Customer Loyalty
  • Customer
  • Build the business
  • Internal process
  • Develop employee commitment
  • Learning & growth

Source: adapted from Niven (case study)

Once the key strategic directions, each one corresponding with a Balanced Scorecard Perspective were identified, and the Balanced Scorecard strategic objectives, key performance indicators and corresponding targets were set, the next step was cascading the scorecard into the organization.


To facilitate a better understanding of the corporate scorecard at the lower levels, especially by the individuals who were going to lead the development of the scorecards within Strategic Business Units and work groups, the company launched an intensive communication campaign of the corporate scorecard.  During the corporate scorecard communication process, several discussion meetings were organized and supporting materials were distributed to every manager.


 By the end of the process everyone had a common understanding of the new Balanced Scorecard system and was ready to introduce it at the lower organization levels in the Strategic Business Units, but also at the Sub Business Unit level, such as power generation plants or individual functional departments.


In order to secure alignment across organization, all the strategic objectives of the lower level scorecards had to be linked with the corporate scorecard objectives. Doing this a cause and effect connection with the corporate strategies was established. Subsequently in order to facilitate the Balanced Scorecard cascading and alignment process several criteria were set to be followed.


Balanced Scorecard implementation and cascading criteria

  • Develop accountability
  • Use business plans
  • Assure the linkage between objectives
  • Identify relevant Key Performance Indicators
  • Assure that all KPIs are aligned with the strategic objectives and key processes
  • Group KPIs into the same traditional Balanced Scorecard Perspectives for all scorecards


For more details of the Balanced Scorecard cascading process at Nova Scotia Power Inc follow the reference link listed below.



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