How public power involves customers in decision-making
Surveys have found that most utility customers spend about 10 minutes a year thinking about their utility, usually when they get the bill. For public power utilities, which are owned by the communities they serve, customers need to understand more than just where to pay the bill.
In this digital age, communication is easier than ever, with options running the gamut from old-fashioned direct mail campaigns to social media pages and tweets. What a utility puts out in terms of communication is only one side of the coin; how customer-owners engage with the utility, offer feedback, and become part of decision-making is the other.
My name is Toby and I am a technophile. That felt good to say. Now, let me explain.
Mayor David Alvey of the Unified Government of Wyandotte County was recently appointed the ViceChair of the American Public Power Association’s Policymaker Committee (PMC). The PMC is made up of 45 members, which include elected or appointed officials on the governing bodies of public power communities. Kansas is also represented on the APPA Policymaker Committee by Mayor Stan Luke of the City of Burlington.
by Meena DayakAPPAPosted January 2, 2019
My daughter’s summer theater group enjoys making its rounds in the area’s shopping centers to solicit ads for the playbill. Group members know they’ll get great support from the locally-owned shops but consider it a waste of time to visit the chain grocery stores, gyms, and other businesses run by large corporations with remote shareholders. “I think the managers want to be helpful, but they can’t make decisions,” she said.
by Paul CiampoliAPPA News DirectorPosted June 26, 2019
Texas-based public power utility Austin Energy is looking to use data it collects in a way that is much more granular in determining the degree to which customers feel positive or negative about topics such as bills or rebates, said Liz Jambor, Austin Energy’s Data Analytics and Business Intelligence manager, in a recent interview.
Public power utilities are of the community, by the community, and for the community. But often, this is a well-kept secret. We don’t stop to let our community members know that this is their utility. If we want our customer-owners to know us, engage with us, and support us in good times and bad — we must first emphasize community ownership. The traditional definition of “muni,” or municipal electric utility, is not inaccurate, but it does not fully convey the pride of citizen ownership.
by Betsy LoeffAPPA NewsPosted July 22, 2019
Despite overbooked flights with undersized seats and frequent delays, the airline industry earns higher customer satisfaction scores than the utilities sector in the American Customer Satisfaction Index. Still, the electric industry has its share of high-flyers that are leading the way in exceeding customer expectations.
by Paul CiampoliAPPA News DirectorPosted July 11, 2019
A law that went into effect in Florida at the start of July prevents third parties from gaining real-time access to public power customers’ usage information and meter-derived data.
by Ethan HowlandAPPA NewsPosted May 6, 2019
California public power utility Glendale Water & Power has launched an online marketplace that offers energy and water efficient products at discounted prices.
Kansas House and Senate leadership has named the members of the Statewide Broadband Expansion Planning Task Force to determine a plan for evaluating and expanding access to Internet broadband in the state. KMU Executive Director Colin Hansen was appointed to the committee to represent municipal utilities. League of Kansas Municipalities Executive Director Erik Sartorius was also named to the task force.
Looking back, how we created and shared news seemed so much simpler. A news article was published once. Reporters spent all day – or days – working on that one story, trying to reach every important source for that story – visiting offices, making phone calls, leaving business cards at homes, even sending registered mail. Editors insisted that stories be held until reporters finished the necessary interviews.
For immediate release:July 30, 2018For more information, contact:Bill Riggins, General Counsel785-273-7010
Kansas Electric Power Cooperative, Inc. Selects New Executive Vice President and CEO
Topeka, Kansas (July 30, 2018) – Kansas Electric Power Cooperative’s (KEPCo’s) Board of Trustees has selected Suzanne Lane of Topeka, Kansas, as the new Executive Vice President and Chief Executive Officer of the organization.
KEPCo’s Board President, Kevin Compton, stated, “Suzanne possesses the knowledge and talent to continue to move the cooperative forward to meet the energy needs of our member-owners. We look forward to working with her in her new position as we strive to meet future energy requirements in today’s challenging energy markets.”
KMU DispatchPosted on January 23, 2019
Kansas local government and their utilities lost a key advocate as Robert (Bob) Peter of Ellinwood passed away last week following an accident at home. He worked tirelessly for the communities and organizations for which he served including Kansas Municipal Utilities. He was a strong supporter of public utilities both small and large and was considered a powerful voice of reason. His voice and his leadership will be missed.
by Ethan HowlandAPPA NewsPosted August 6, 2019
Seattle City Light in July 2019 unveiled its unique Denny substation, an architectural showpiece that includes a glowing facade, an elevated walkway, and an off-leash dog park.
by Paul CiampoliAPPA News DirectorPosted December 17, 2018
Public power utilities in the Midwest, South, and West were among the utilities that earned high marks for business customer satisfaction in a J.D. Power study. Results of the study were released on Dec. 12.
by Paul CiampoliAPPA News DirectorPosted July 15, 2019
Public power utilities earned a number of the top rankings in J.D. Power's latest Electric Utility Residential Customer Satisfaction Study, which was released in late June.
Public power keeps the rates low and the lights on, right? Like your counterparts, perhaps you, too, have gone years without a rate increase. But that does not mean you don’t talk about rates at all. Consider what other utilities like yours are doing to underscore that public power costs less.
by Paul CiampoliAPPA News DirectorPosted March 19, 2019
While a recent J.D. Power study concludes that the utility sector as a whole continues to struggle when it comes to delivering a satisfying digital customer experience, two public power utilities, Arizona’s Salt River Project and California’s SMUD, bucked the trend and earned high scores in J.D. Power’s 2019 Utility Digital Experience Study.
by Jim PetersonAPPAPosted January 2, 2019
Winning a big business deal is like hitting a home run — exciting, but rare. For utilities that focus on maintaining relationships with key accounts, the winning strategy is to keep these connections strong using both traditional and new approaches.