Rising temperatures this summer offer energy efficiency opportunities

Ruchi Solanki, Research Analyst –

With temperatures soaring and the humidity only getting worse throughout the day, it’s no wonder that people choose the cool, dry indoors as a place to hang out during the peak of summer. Or maybe it’s just me. Nevertheless, as heat rises, so does the cost of turning on the AC at full blast. While customers, like myself, are focusing on ways to be more energy efficient, many utilities are happy to provide tips, kits and programs to help.

PG&E’s “Step Up and Power Down” campaign was designed to educate customers on energy-saving activities and ways to reduce energy consumption. The utility partnered with five cities in California to meet their energy efficiency objectives. Through word-of-mouth marketing, community events and farmers markets, PG&E focused on providing opportunities for customers to save, including driving customers to their online energy audit tool to help save a combined total of 51.1 gigawatt-hours.

Residential and commercial customers aren’t the only targets for energy efficiency programs. KCP&L created “Do Just One Thing”, an internal marketing campaign to inform employees on the different programs and opportunities the utility has in order to generate interest and build energy program ambassadors within the company. The campaign was comprised of four different challenges and promoted through the utility’s intranet homepage and distributed hard copy materials.

Image courtesy of KCP&L

Each challenge highlighted one energy efficiency program, provided energy tips and encouraged employees to share their own efforts to get them engaged and win prizes. KCP&L successfully increased awareness and engagement with approximately 28% of their employee base participating in at least one of the four challenges.

Word-of-mouth marketing has become an effective tactic that companies, regardless of the industry, try to employ by creating conversation starters. Idaho Power took advantage of this idea to introduce their Energy-Saving Kit. The free kits were presented as a way to bring energy efficiency into reality and direct customers to the utility’s website to access tools and monitor progress. The kits were so effective that when Travis Herman, an Idaho Power customer, gave a glowing review on a community Facebook page, the post was shared more than 3,900 times and generated nearly 11,000 requests for the kits.

If you are interested in learning more about how other utilities are generating new levels of enthusiasm for energy efficiency, make sure to register for Chartwell’s webinar on Wednesday, August 30 at 2 p.m. Eastern and join Jenna Haskins, Puget Sound Energy’s Program Manager, in discussing the utility’s evolving strategy to increase energy efficiency program participation.


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