Helping Utility Customers Save Money by Using Less Energy

An investor-owned utility sought to help its nearly 300,000 Colorado customers manage electric and gas bills during the winter by improving energy efficiency and using less energy at home, with behavioral changes and simple energy efficiency measures.

Client
Services
Media Relations & Influencer Marketing
Industry
Energy & Utilities
Awards

CHallenge

Rising natural gas prices were impacting both natural gas and electric customers, since natural gas is used to help generate electricity. Recognizing the impact this could have on customer bills in Colorado, the utility company wanted to reach customers with tips for how to manage energy use at home and information on where to go for bill payment assistance, including company and state programs. The company also wanted to help customers understand that energy usage is the single largest portion of an energy bill. Making small behavioral changes and modest investments in energy efficiency at home can deliver a big return in terms of lower gas or electric bills.  

The company wanted to reach customers without investing in a costly paid media campaign, but hurdles for earned media exposure also were high. Newsrooms are shrinking and resource-constrained editorial boards no longer provide a pathway to coverage at many smaller newspapers.

Solution

The communities the company serves are dispersed across the state, reached by a variety of daily and weekly newspapers. To ensure efficient message delivery, control and consistency, Linhart PR drafted a templatized company-authored article with tips and resources for reducing energy use and bill-payment assistance, and placed it in local media outlets.

  • Linhart PR wrote the article, which included tips for assessing home energy efficiency, plus shared several inexpensive DIY weatherization tips and ideas for behavior changes, intended to better manage usage and reduce wasted energy.
  • The article also included explanations of bill-payment assistance programs available for income-qualified customers.
  • Linhart PR proactively pitched the article to local media across Colorado with the goal of securing placement in 40% of media outlets reaching customers served by the utility.

Results

Media outreach from Linhart PR resulted in 25 total articles, potentially reaching more than 1.1 million customers.

  • 19 pick-ups of the op-ed in print and online media.
  • Six pick-ups of a reporter-written article summarizing key points of the op-ed.
  • The article was placed in media markets for 59% percent of the major communities served by the company, exceeding the goal.
  • The company received and documented calls to its customer service team, thanking the author of the piece for sharing helpful energy tips with customers.
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