Gas Utility Needs Better Crisis Communications

Egan EnergyBlog, Crisis, Utility CommunicationsLeave a Comment

$800 million, and sure to go higher. That’s the cost, so far, for the gas utility responsible for a series of home explosions that occurred in three suburban Boston communities in September. Crisis Communications Playbook It doesn’t appear that Columbia Gas of Massachusetts read the crisis communications playbook or learned the lessons of the Tylenol poisonings from three decades ago. … Read More

Utility Communications: How to Stay Out of the “Smart-Talk” Trap

Egan EnergyBlog, Effective, Utility CommunicationsLeave a Comment

When was the last time you did a 540°? What hill are you willing to die on? Have you ever used “architect” as a verb? Do you have enough bandwidth to growth-hack the analytics? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you may have fallen into The Smart-Talk Trap. Some organizations reward people for sounding smart rather than … Read More

Crisis Communications: What’s Brewing Inside Your Utility?

Egan EnergyBlog, Crisis, Utility CommunicationsLeave a Comment

“Do you ever speak on utility crisis communications?” Barry Moline, executive director of the California Municipal Utilities Association, asked me in a recent phone call. I told him I did. He asked if I could speak on that topic at CMUA’s annual conference. I told Barry I would be delighted. Readers interested in my take on utility crisis communications can … Read More

Battling for Employees’ Hearts and Minds? Don’t Lead with “Reliable, Affordable and Safe”

Egan EnergyEmployee, Employee Communications, EmployeesLeave a Comment

Those words might have worked as a rallying cry 75 or 100 years ago, when the U.S. was electrifying (right). Back then, working in the electricity business was a leading-edge, change-the-world endeavor, like working in the space program was in the 1960s or the perennial search for a cure for cancer. But today, many utility employees need a more current, … Read More

Effective and SUCCESful Messaging for Utilities

Egan EnergyBlog, MessagingLeave a Comment

Our challenge as utility communicators comes down to two separate yet interconnected things: Messaging and Messenger. That’s the Alpha and Omega of communications. You need to craft a message your audience can grasp and you need to deliver it cost effectively. A great message can be undermined by a bad message-delivery choice. And even the best means of delivering a … Read More

The Simple, Enduring Truths of Crisis Communications

Egan EnergyCrisis, Utility CommunicationsLeave a Comment

Listening to Bruce Hennes’ talks on crisis communications for utilities, I was reminded of a long-ago quip attributed, as best as I could recall, to Pierre Salinger (right), former press secretary to President John F. Kennedy and a print and broadcast reporter. “The truth can be complicated,” I remember reading him saying. “Sometimes, it’s easier to lie.” He was reflecting, … Read More

You Wanna Be Right, or Understood, in Your Utility Customer Communications?

Egan EnergyBlog, CustomerLeave a Comment

I spoke with a utility communicator not too long ago who was having difficulty convincing the highly technical leader of her utility to use easily understood language in communicating with the public. The leader was a stickler for precision and comprehensiveness, which led to long and complicated communications with customers, which the communicator suspected were almost never read. She probably … Read More

Employee Communications: Showing Your True Colors on Day 1

Egan EnergyEmployee, Employee Communications, EmployeesLeave a Comment

Sometimes Saturdays come on Thursdays. When you own your own small business, you have to flex around client needs/crises, deadlines, business development, client management and lots of other to-dos. Going hard for three or four days in a row sometimes means your brain needs a day off. There are times my brain can’t wait until Saturday for a day off. … Read More

“Holy Kilowatts, Batman!” So What’s Your Story?

Egan EnergyCustomer, Utility CommunicationsLeave a Comment

Have you ever left an energy conference and run into a life-sized Pikachu Pokémon©? How about coming face to face with a Star Wars stormtrooper©? I recently encountered those and many other colorful characters, most of whom I didn’t recognize, when the energy conference I was attending, HydroVision International, was ending while Denver Comic Con was starting. Both events shared … Read More