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Pitching Your Utility in the Coronavirus Era

image credit: ID 414782 © Jim Parkin |

A couple weeks back, I suggested not pitching your utility during the coronavirus pandemic, but as most of the country continues in lockdown, maybe it’s time to reconsider.

That’s because the media is looking for new angles to cover the pandemic. Aside from updates on afflicted/mortality totals and the latest programs set up to help people, there isn’t that much to cover since most, if not all, events are canceled.

That leaves reporters largely covering the virtual angle of everything or how specific industries (restaurants, retailers, service providers, etc.) are impacted.

So why not your utility?

In reality, your utility might be an interesting place for the media to profile. Obviously, the lights have to stay on, so you’re considered an essential business. And while some of your operations can be conducted virtually, plenty of things can’t be performed that way.

A pitch might revolve around how the utility has adapted – with some employees now working from home, while new procedures are in place for your crews in the field and those overseeing any power generating operations you have. How exactly are you keeping your people safe – that’s a question readers/viewers/listeners will want to know.

At the same time, you can also talk about programs you have put in place to help customers with their bills.

If you have curtailed all shutoffs, be sure to mention that. Or if you’ve developed assistance programs or are extending grace periods on bill payments, mention that, too.

Life today is all about community, so be sure to showcase the warm and the fuzzy. The fact that you’re helping customers with their bills, while brave employees are doing all they can (like always) to keep the lights on (or get them back on) is sure to play well.

As always, make reporting the story as easy as possible for the media, providing plenty of background materals, visuals and sources. And be responsive to any requests.

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