DSM Pressure From PA PUCO Drives PECO To Hunt Energy Ogres - Should NEO Follow?

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Wed, 04/14/2010 - 15:16.

I received a press release today for a demand side management program in Philadelphia that has promise here - they are attacking "energy ogres" in a fun and clever way that their research says will have a greater impact with customers than doom-and-gloom environmental scare tactics - a "no finger waving" approach to reducing consumer energy demand and so pollution. I thought I'd share the entire release and their promotional videos here to get feedback from realNEO (it seems the global energy industry watches us, here), and to plant this strategy as a potential best practice for Ohio to explore - below is the contact information if our PUCO wants to learn more... I've asked for updates on the success of this program and will keep this community posted.

Power Co. Makes Energy Ogres its Brand Campaign.

Philadelphia–Phila. power company PECO, a subsidiary of Exelon Corp. (NYSE: EXC), will turn over its entire 2010 brand advertising budget to a “Smart Ideas” campaign, encouraging consumers to upgrade their energy-wasting, money-wasting, old appliances and windows, dubbed “ogres.” The campaign, by Tierney, Phila., breaks this month.

A typical “Smart Ideas” scenario might involve the homeowner who purchases a new refrigerator. Instead of having to pay out up to $150/year in energy costs to move his old fridge to the basement, as a spare for ice cream or beer, PECO will pick it up for free, recycle its parts, and pay the homeowner $35, plus a $75 rebate on a new, efficient model.

In seven :30 and :15 TV spots, dishwasher, refrigerator, window and lightbullb ogres torment the homeowners on whose electricity they feed. A voiceover then describes the rebates, discounts, and incentives that PECO offers instead. Each spot closes with the URL peco.com/SmartIdeas , and the tag: “PECO. We put our energy into saving you money.”

The bad guy appliances are played by puppeteers, and intended as more cartoony than horrific. Research showed that even small money savings were more effective at motivating homeowners to cut usage than were the dire environmental consequences of energy waste. The commercials aim to not come off as “preachy,” or, as Tierney exhorted internally: “No finger-wagging.”

The TV advertising runs on prime time and in news slots on 5 broadcast and 10 cable networks. More ogre advertising runs on online news and media sites, on Top 10 Philly radio stations (where the appliances sound like a good ol’ boy, a harping mother-in-law, a Frenchman and a Transylvanian), and out-of-home, on 250 billboard and bus shelter units.

Driving PECO’s effort to reduce the energy its customers buy is a state mandated 3% cut in total kilowatt hours, by 2013. And, before next year’s expiration of a 2001 rate freeze, the company wants to demonstrate an effort to help consumers control costs.

Creative was led by Tierney executive creative director Patrick Hardy. The director was Michael Wilde of Phasmatrope, Haverford, Pa. Puppets are by one-time Muppet-maker Zach Buchman of Furry Puppet Studio, Brooklyn, N.Y.

Tierney is a full-service advertising and public relations agency, part of the global Interpublic network. www.hellotierney.com

Links to related advertisements:


Campaign Fact Sheet

PECO, Philadelphia, div. Exelon Corp. (NYSE: EXC)

Tierney, Philadelphia

PECO Smart Ideas
Rebates, discounts, and incentives for trading in old appliances.
Entire 2010 “brand” budget allocated to this campaign.

Seven :30s and :15s.
Dishwasher, fridge, window and lightbulb “ogres.”
Prime time and news slots. 5 broadcast, 10 cable networks.

Three rich media “ogre” banners on local news/media sites.     

Four :30s.
Good ol’ boy dishwasher, Frenchified window, Transylvanian lightbulb, mean mother-in-law fridge.
Top 10 Philly stations.

Five “ogre” billboards (bulletin and extension) and bus shelters.
Major thoroughfares. 250 units.

Reduce Philadelphia area homeowners’ energy usage.

State mandated 3% reduction in kilowatt hours, by 2013.
Show effort to help consumers cut costs, before next year’s expiration of 2001 rate freeze.

Typical rebate scenario:    
Homeowner buys a new, efficient refrigerator and moves the old to the basement, as a spare for ice cream or beer. Energy costs for that spare can be up to $150/year. As an alternative, PECO will pick it up for free, recycle its parts, and pay homeowner $35. Plus rebate $75 towards the new.

Tierney creative concept:   
“No finger-wagging.”
PECO research shows that $ savings, even small, are a more effective motivator than dire environmental concerns. Compared to scary/evil bad-guy appliances, cartoony puppet versions were less “preachy.”

ECD: Patrick Hardy

Dir./Prod. Co.: Michael Wilde/Phasmatrope, Haverford, Pa.            


# # #
Dan Barron
Conroy Barron Public Relations
315 Riverside, 13 B
New York, NY  10025
db [at] conroybarronpr [dot] com/">db [at] conroybarronpr [dot] com
o 646/356-7651
c 646/825-0252  

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A No-Troll Approach To Hunting Energy Ogres

I've added the PECO ads mentioned and linked here as an embedded file - they are that good!

It is interesting that in the same day one dishonest representative of "dirty power" abused citizens' trust and trolled realNEO to cause harm to our community - fetus1990 AKA Doug Lungman - and one honest representative of "clean power" contacted me by email, showed appreciation for realNEO, and asked me to consider posting his information about a demand side management program in PA on realNEO. As a utility consultant interested in demand side management, who likes what he sees from these clean power people (and PA in general), I have posted about the good work of PECO - Philadelphia power - to help a public relations agent in New York further his good work of informing citizens about energy conservation, wherever that may be accomplished.

He deserves an award for his effective new media performance.

I don't naturally like PR people... utility people... coal burners... but I don't naturally dislike them - I've spent years working with them - and I certainly respect good professionals in those fields who are doing good work for their communities and the world.

real NEO should learn more from this posting than better ways to inform citizens and conserve energy... they should learn how good, responsible energy professionals behave and work in the new economy.

Learn baby learn.

Enjoy these promos for PECO - I especially love the last one with the lightbulb bat - I'd like a toy one of those for my house for Halloween.

And I wouldn't mind seeing FirstEnergy ads if they were so clever, purposeful and effective.

In the future, I expect to be able to show you data on the impact of this PECO program, as I've requested proof this program works and expect the professionals behind this PUCO initiative to benchmark their success.

Where are benchmarks of FirstEnergy and Cleveland Public Power success for our PUCO, in the polluted communities of real NEO?

Drill baby drill!

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Customers Can Save More Than $1 Billion

Here is how PECO has marketed and positioned their Energy Ogres campaign, focused on saving customers $1 Billion... with descriptions of the programs developed with their PUCO, and expected economic impacts. In conclusion, it is explained: "These efforts are a component of Exelon 2020:  A Low-Carbon Roadmap, the comprehensive environmental strategy of PECO’s parent company.  Exelon 2020 sets the goal of reducing, offsetting or displacing more than 15 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions per year by 2020.  This is more than the company’s current annual carbon footprint and is equivalent to taking nearly 3 million cars off American roads and highways."

The cost is passed on to customers - about $1.50 additional on their monthly energy bills - consider this one of a growing database of energy conservation best practices around the country, that may help Ohio become the brightest greenest state of Earth...

Customers Can Save More Than $1 Billion
With New Suite Of Energy Efficiency Programs From PECO

PHILADELPHIA (November 4, 2009) – With just a few small steps, PECO customers can save more than $1 billion in energy costs thanks to a new energy efficiency suite of programs from PECO.  The programs, totaling more than $330 million, approved by the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC), will be available to customers beginning in March 2010.
A residential customer who purchases five discounted energy efficient CFL bulbs – which use 75 percent less energy and last up to 10 times longer – and installs a discounted programmable thermostat – which saves energy by automatically raising and lowering temperatures – will save about $130 each year.
“We are helping our customers save money by making it easier . . . and cheaper . . . for them to use energy more efficiently,” said Denis O’Brien, PECO president and CEO.  “That’s why in October we launched our CFL bulb program to bring millions of discounted CFL bulbs to local stores.  We are thankful to the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission for issuing an order that will be so beneficial to our customers.  The programs approved will go even further to help our customers understand, manage and reduce their energy use, and therefore reduce their energy costs.  And, in addition to creating hundreds of local jobs, these programs also are a win-win because using energy more efficiently also provides significant environmental benefits.”
Specifically, PECO’s suite of energy saving programs will include:   

Energy Efficiency

  • $20 million to bring discounted CFL bulbs to more than 800 local stores
  • $28 million in weatherization programs to help low-income customers
  • $42 million in rebates on energy efficiency appliances and other products
  • $10 million in customer incentives to pick-up older, inefficient appliances
  • $112 million in rebates and energy efficiency programs for non-profit, educational, governmental and business customers

Demand Reduction Programs

  • $41 million in customer incentives for energy management programs including air-conditioner cycling
  • $79 million in programs and incentives to help customers reduce energy demand during the 100 hours of the year with the highest demand for electricity

The suite of energy saving programs is part of the company’s support of Pennsylvania’s energy efficiency and demand response targets – Act 129.  Act 129 requires all state electric utilities to reduce energy use by 1 percent by May 31, 2011 and 3 percent by May 31, 2013, and reduce energy demand during the 100 highest demand hours of the year by 4.5 percent by May 31, 2013.  The programs will cost residential customers about $1.50 additional on their monthly energy bills.
PECO’s programs also complement the company’s other environmental efforts.  Other environmental projects include the installation of a green roof and new energy efficient, LED Crown Lights on the company’s Center City headquarters; the opening of PECO’s first ‘green building’ in West Chester, recently awarded silver certification for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED); improvements to secure LEED certification for many other company work sites; the increased use of hybrid and biodiesel vehicles; and support for community environmental projects.  
These efforts are a component of Exelon 2020:  A Low-Carbon Roadmap, the comprehensive environmental strategy of PECO’s parent company.  Exelon 2020 sets the goal of reducing, offsetting or displacing more than 15 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions per year by 2020.  This is more than the company’s current annual carbon footprint and is equivalent to taking nearly 3 million cars off American roads and highways.


Based in Philadelphia, PECO is an electric and natural gas utility subsidiary of Exelon Corporation (NYSE: EXC). PECO serves 1.6 million electric and 485,000 natural gas customers in southeastern Pennsylvania and employs about 2,400 people in the region. PECO delivered 83.7 billion cubic feet of natural gas and 39.4 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity in 2008.  Founded in 1881, PECO is one of the Greater Philadelphia Region's most active corporate citizens, providing leadership, volunteer and financial support to numerous arts and culture, education, environmental, economic development and community programs and organizations.

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