Time to Rev Up Your Clean Energy Communications for Customers

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California’s decision to go to 100% carbon-free electricity by 2045, passed late last month by the state legislature and awaiting Governor Jerry Brown’s signature, means electric utilities and electric cooperatives in the Golden State will have to up, yet again, their clean energy communications. That applies to electric utilities and cooperatives located outside California, too, as customers increasingly prefer cleaner … Read More

Customer Communications: Reaching Customers’ Brains Through Their Hearts

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“Poles and wires are boring, but people are interesting,” a utility communicator once told me. I agree completely: The best way to feed your audience, especially customers, the information you want them to know is to embed it in a compelling story focusing on people. Whether it’s still or video photography, the image draws the audience (customers) in and carries … Read More

Warmest Holiday Wishes from EEC

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  Christmas is only a few weeks away. It’s always a special time in our home. I’ll never forget the Christmas Day years ago when our son Jack, then about age 6, bolted down the stairs and hurled himself at the presents under the tree. His expression was a mix of excitement (“Wow, there’s a ton of presents, I wonder … Read More

Build a Better Budget … with Market Intelligence from the EEC Survey

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For Utility Communicators & Marketers Only!   We want to HEAR from you! Earlier in my career, I prepared budgets for my utility’s media relations function. I had no independent, third-party information to know whether I was under-staffed, fully staffed or over-staffed compared to other utilities. Having that information would have helped me make a stronger budget case to executive … Read More

Awkward Conversations Utility Communicators Need to Have with Customers

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Many of us would prefer to avoid awkward conversations if we can. We turn evasive when our children ask us, “Where do babies come from?” At a party, someone asks about the presidential candidates and most people go into full-on fudge mode. Stalling, evading and dissembling are seen as preferable to having a conversation that makes us uncomfortable. The ongoing … Read More

Utility Communicators: Making Lemonade out of Lemons

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When I talk to media relations representatives at utilities, I often hear how difficult their jobs have become. Newspapers have closed. Dailies have become twice-weeklies. The news hole is shrinking. Veteran reporters who used to cover the utility have taken a package. If those veterans are replaced (and their positions are not always back-filled), it typically is with a shiny … Read More

At the Movies: How KUA Connects with Customers

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Utility marketers and communicators I speak with remain intrigued by the idea of direct interaction with their clients, contacts not mediated by email, social media, the news media or the contact center’s voice-response unit (VRU). They understand the power of personally connecting with customers. But these utility representatives I speak with seem fixated on the logistical challenges of direct outreach: … Read More

Our Job: Convey Elegant Thought in Simple Terms

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When the Financial Times, one of the world’s oldest and most authoritative business dailies, and the “Dilbert” cartoon strip independently explore the same issue at about the same time, that’s worthy of note. And the issue is one near and dear to my heart, and hopefully yours: the need to communicate using clear English. Have you ever played buzzword bingo? … Read More

Energy Efficiency: Put People Before Buildings

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We’re at that part of 2016 when many of our New Year’s resolutions lay behind us, broken and abandoned, despite our best intentions: We’ve resumed eating carbs, we’ve stopped going to the gym, and we’re still in that unhealthy relationship. Not to worry. If you adopted a personal New Year’s resolution to increase customer participation in your utility’s energy efficiency … Read More

Boosting Your Utility’s Employee Engagement, CSAT and Profitability

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The utility industry has been roiled in recent years by mergers & acquisitions (M&A). Most publicly held electric and gas utilities are either in the process of integrating a merger, preparing a merger, or both. Over $166 billion of utility-industry M&A has taken place since 2012, according to PwC’s North American Power Deals (see below). M&A can be particularly hard … Read More