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Wrapping Up Your Utility’s 2022

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Andy Gotlieb's picture
Editor of a specialty publication, former public relations practitioner, Freelancer

I hold 34 years of experience in communications, mostly in journalism, with a decade in public relations, too.  The first 17 years were spent in print journalism, where I covered, at various...

  • Member since 2016
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  • Dec 8, 2022
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In case you were unaware, the year is about to end. Groundbreaking news, huh?

Stores are busy, and Christmas music is seemingly everywhere. Car companies are touting “Decembers to remember” and things of that ilk. Maybe you’ve been invited to a New Year’s party or two. And it’s getting cold.

While none of those things directly impact your utility, the end of the year does have added meaning beyond gifts, family get-togethers and other seasonal trappings.

For planning purposes, it’s time to look ahead to 2023, but you also should revisit what happened in 2022. There’s probably more to the year than you remember.

Although it may sound akin to the holiday letters some people write where they recap little Johnny making the varsity football team, little Susie getting straight As, dad getting a promotion at work, mom starting a new job and Fluffy joining the family as the new cat, a document recapping your utility’s year might be in order.

You could include your work in several places: Send it as an email, include it as a bill stuffer, post it on social media or distribute it via any other channel you might have.

You can even customize the document by the audience. For example, you could send it as a letter to employees, email it to customers or distribute it to the media via a press release. Or you could simply post it on your website or include it in official correspondence to shareholders if you’re publicly traded.

In any case, you should have some tangible, easily digested record of 2022.

Even if your year’s been disappointing in some regards, you should compose a document. No matter what the problem was, spin it as positively as you can and describe how it will make 2023 all that much better.

And, as always, talk up your accomplishments, even if they are relatively mundane in the scheme of things.

As for the writing, you may have to tailor it somewhat for specific audiences; if you have a single letter, use a somewhat casual style – but not too casual.

In any case, avoid industry jargon that may not be commonly known wherever you can and also minimize any technical discussion; do that by keeping the writing style conversational. And run the letter through Grammarly or a similar service to ferret out typos or excessively wordy sentences. Even the best proofreader can miss things.

What you’ll want to do is showcase your utility’s highlights over the year, explaining the accomplishments and what they mean to both the organization and the public. Avoid bragging or brazen self-promotion.

So, what might you discuss?

How about strong earnings, assuming you’re publicly traded; efficiency improvement measures; awards received by employees or the company; new or prominent hirings; retirements of longtime executives; and significant community involvement projects?

Remember to keep the discussion of each item to a sentence or two: You probably announced all of this material earlier in the year. This document should serve as a reminder, instead of breaking new ground.

When it comes to less-positive news, be careful. If there was criminal activity involved or anything else embarrassing, leave it out – remember, it’s your content. You don’t have to rehash everything.

That said, if there are extenuating circumstances to things such as poor earnings or large numbers of power outages due to a hurricane, be quick to explain. Even better, point to positives that came out of the bad news, such as the repair crews that went above and beyond or the federal grant money received that will allow you to not only rebuild but improve your infrastructure.

Keep your letter short – it should fit on a regular 8x11 Word document, which is about the length of this post at this point.

Close your letter wishing your audience a happy holiday season and likewise for the new year. Don’t specify a particular holiday at any point in the letter, lest you miss something and anger a portion of the audience.

Finally, send out your message at least a week before Christmas itself so it doesn’t get lost in the year-end deluge of holiday messaging.

Beyond that, there really isn’t anything else to do with the letter – it is what it is. There’s no need for a follow-up, so enjoy the holidays and/or get ready for what you hope is an even better 2023.

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Andy Gotlieb's picture
Thank Andy for the Post!
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