Power Lines Blog

Back to our roots for a new look

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I mentioned that the American Public Power Association was getting a new look — one which would not result from me dyeing my hair. That window of opportunity passed for me years ago — when I started to go gray and decided to just stay with the “natural look!” Going natural is what we’ve done with our new brand. We went back to our roots (pun intended) in the community.

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Is your utility dialed Into the electronic companion?

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Your electronic companion connects not only to your bank account, wallet, email and cloud files, but also to your fitness tracking device, thermostat, washing machine and water bottle. Some of you might not quite be there yet, but many of your customers are, or soon will be. Can they connect with you through their electronic companions?

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Homegrown makes a difference

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It’s not uncommon on restaurant menus today to see where the ingredients in your meal are coming from: beets dug from a family farm in Virginia, pork pastured on a green field in South Carolina, blueberries from wild bushes in Maine. That menu might even tell you how many miles your food traveled to your plate, and the growing trend seems to be the closer the better. “Buy Local” is the buzz phrase — and those who do are called “locavores.” Maybe buying local should also be considered when it comes to power.

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On the road in Nashville: customer service

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The utility mounted a very aggressive public relations campaign using multiple media to let the community know and prevent any further thefts. Steve presented on this issue to his fellow Tennessee public power utilities. If one utility sees a problem that creates a customer service issue, it shares that information with others. All public power systems — and their customers — benefit from such a willingness to share.

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On the bleeding edge of technology

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The subject of smart grid technology came up. One APPA member utility said that the benefit to customers from installing this technology has not penciled out, given the associated costs. And they were frank to say that they preferred to wait a bit, to see how “early adopters” of this technology fared, rather than make an expensive investment that might turn out to have, as we now say, “issues.”

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Teach them public power and learn XBoxes

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Public power systems need to engage with their communities and highlight their contributions. But every bit as important is the education of our future retail customers. These young people need to understand just what it takes to produce and deliver their power. Kicking off that process with a “teachable moment” in the 5th grade is a great way to start.

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