Employee Engagement: Guest Blog on Ways to Improve It

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Employee engagement continues to be a high-interest topic among our readers. As a more contagious and deadly variant of COVID-19 emerges, utilities and energy companies are trying to decide when office workers will return to the office, and under what conditions. What work policies need to be updated? How shall we perform work going forward? Will our organizational culture help, … Read More

Utility Rate Case Communications: Do It Right

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Among policymakers, there’s a lot more talk about energy infrastructure these days, following the catastrophic Texas power blackouts and the Biden administration’s $2.25-trillion infrastructure plan. That means rate cases and rate case communications. U.S. electric utilities invested about $40 billion to build new transmission projects in 2019, a sharp increase over earlier years, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration … Read More

Customer Outreach: You Reap What You Sow

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Ever wonder why some companies emerge from crises faster, with more of their reputation intact, while others die a death of a thousand cuts? The answer can be found in the adage, “As you sow, so shall you reap.” You can find all kinds of validation of that simple premise. Recently, I was reminded of it while writing an article … Read More

Communicating on ESG: An Emerging Need for Utilities

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Many utility communicators and marketers have Earth Day (April 22) circled on their calendar. This year’s Earth Day, if history is any guide, promises to be busy. Employees will volunteer to pick up trash from streams, rivers and parks, plant trees and lead community workshops. Utilities will announce the closure of coal-fired power plants and the construction of renewable energy … Read More

Getting Outside Yourself: Customer Communications

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Maybe you’ve heard the phrase, “Get over yourself” sometime in your life. Today I’m going to adapt that and say, when writing for customers or other external stakeholders, “Get outside yourself.” Years ago, when I was a communicator at an electric company, a communications consultant would pop in now and then to help us sharpen our messaging. More than a … Read More

Stakeholder Engagement: Build Bridges Before You Hit Walls

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Stakeholder engagement is a mindset as well as a specific business practice. Energy companies are gradually accepting that their ability to conduct business requires the consent of critical constituencies, including customers, investors, employees, communities, regulators, strategic partners and others. The term “social license to operate” includes, but is not limited to, stakeholder engagement. Over the next decade, there are hundreds … Read More

Changing Your Organization’s Culture One Minute at a Time

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In last month’s blog, I discussed the wide gap between words and deeds among Colorado energy companies on the issue of stakeholder engagement, and how that disparity finally caught up with them in last year’s election. Sooner or later, I believe that same tendency to favor talk over action will hit providers of electricity. I’m talking about the critical role … Read More

Earning, and Keeping, Your Company’s Social License to Operate

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April 16, 2019 was the day that social license to operate (SLTO) became real for Colorado’s energy companies. That’s the date that Colorado’s governor signed into law Senate Bill 181, which is transforming the business environment for Colorado oil & gas companies. If you wanted to quibble, you could say the date SLTO became real was November 8, 2018, when … Read More

Environmental Communications: When Green is the New Black

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In recent years, a growing number of electric utilities have added “sustainable” or “environmentally responsible” or “cleaner” to their longtime vision of providing electric service that is safe, affordable and reliable. That’s one part of their response to a shifting market. Even utilities operating in traditionally regulated monopoly markets, where there is no threat of losing customers to a competitor, … Read More