Utilities go green

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Utilities go green
Utilities go green
This often involves building multi-touch campaigns. For example, a firm might do a broader education campaign on TV, as well as grass roots marketing at places like Home Depot, says David Weigel, VP of market­ing for Ecos Consulting, who worked with Nevada Power and Sierra Pacific Power on their campaign.

“We don't just do a big blanket campaign, cross our fingers and hope for the best,” he adds.

Marketers really have to take campaigns into the streets in order to be effective, says Sharon O'Shea, principal of Zer0 to 5ive and account lead for a BPL Global campaign (a company which provides Smart Grid capabilities to the utility industry). O'Shea equated their efforts to those of a political campaign seeking to drum up support. “It's all about creat­ing excitement,” she points out.

With the marketing efforts, customers can be shown that they're affect­ing their children's future by not being conscious of their energy usage today, she continues. And by changing their energy habits, consumers also stand to save hundreds of dollars on their energy bills. “They're incurring their own savings,” she says.


Nevada Power and Sierra Pacific Power: “Looks funny, saves money” campaign

In early 2007, the company launched interactive television commercials which prompted viewers to answer trivia questions via their cable remote — resulting in over a million hits. Nevada Power also reached out to the community at Home Depot and Wal-Mart, as well as local casinos. By the end of the year, residents had purchased 2.1 million bulbs. Next year, the utility hopes to double that amount.

Vectren: Conservation campaign

To help customers drive down their gas bills, Vectren launched a five-year conservation campaign in January 2007. TV spots encouraged residents to dial the company's call center or go to its Web site to sign up for rebates or use a personalized, online energy audit tool. From December 2006 through November 2007, about 72,000 customers performed the audits, while $1.80 million was awarded in rebates. The campaign resulted in $712,000 in avoided gas costs.

BPL Global: “Easy green” campaign

A sign-up program was designed to help control the temperature settings on residents' air con­ditioners during peak energy-use periods. The campaign involved community outreach, door-to-door calling, direct mail, telemarketing, local PR efforts, as well as a dedicated Web site. By the campaign's end, 1,700 households had signed up for the program. Over the summer months, aver­age participants saved between $300 and $600 on their utility bills.

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