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NASUCA Consumer Education and Outreach Panel November 13, 2012. Sheri Givens Public Counsel. Statute & Annual Meeting.

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Presentation Transcript
statute annual meeting
Statute & Annual Meeting
  • Sec. 13.061.  PUBLIC INTEREST INFORMATION. The office shall prepare information of public interest describing the functions of the office. The office shall make the information available to the public and appropriate state agencies.
  • Sec. 13.064.  PUBLIC HEARING. (a) The office annually shall conduct a public hearing to assist the office in developing a plan of priorities and to give the public, including residential and small commercial consumers, an opportunity to comment on the office's functions and effectiveness.
  • Annual meetings typically in competitive electric areas.
  • Location changes each year.
  • Need for education on the electric choice market is a continual trend.
  • Questions and comments from attendees help set the agency’s annual priorities and identify areas of concern or new issues.
consumer alerts
Consumer Alerts
  • “Consumer Alert” emails:
    • Provide market information in plain language.
    • Reach consumers quickly on emergency issues or time-sensitive consumer rebates.
  • Duplicate information on Facebook and Twitter. Consumer has choice on how the agency interacts with them.
  • Example: Texas experienced rotating outages in February 2011. OPUC was the only agency issuing consumer alerts to let the public know what was happening and why.
e newsletters
E-Newsletters
  • Since summer 2010, OPUC has published quarterly

e-newsletters.

  • No cost because it’s electronic and consumers can sign up to

receive through agency website.

  • Letter from the Public Counsel on consumer issues or new OPUC activity.
  • Relevant consumer information includes:
    • Tips for containing electricity costs.
    • Advice on shopping for lower electric rates and navigating the market.
    • OPUC bill savings for ratepayers in different areas of the state, both regulated and competitive.
    • Consumer protection “wins” or issues.
town halls
Town Halls
  • Target competitive areas of the state and presentations can be tailored to any choice area.
  • Provide area-specific information on shopping the market, utility assistance and energy efficiency.
  • Discuss how the Texas market works in general and what customers should look for when evaluating different plans and products.
  • Review customer electric bills, provide advice, help them understand their bill, and answer questions.
populations in need
Populations In Need
  • Seniors have more trouble navigating the competitive market and are more vulnerable to misinformation.
  • Targeted events at Senior Centers to better reach this demographic.
  • Partner with the Silver-Haired Legislature to get information to seniors and keep up-to-date on seniors’ concerns.
  • Monthly stakeholder meetings, including AARP, advocates for low-income Texans and interfaith groups.
  • Military population in Texas is significant.
  • Many are young and new to Texas.
  • Issues regarding deployments.
  • Misinformation on providers available in the market.
  • Present at family financial fitness workshops, Family Readiness Group meetings, and Yellow Ribbon deployment events.
  • Base-specific e-newsletters.
  • Military Resources section on website.
  • Coordinate with Association of the United States Army (AUSA).
partnerships
Partnerships

Use existing networks to reach your constituents:

  • Start with statewide associations.
    • Examples: Texas Association of Business, Texas Association of Realtors, Texas Association of Builders, Texas Apartment Association, AARP, National Federation of Independent Business, etc.
  • Partner with legislators in their areas. They want to serve their constituents and assist their citizens on these issues.
  • Work with social service organizations in the community.
    • Examples: Rotary Clubs, Lions Clubs, Kiwanis, Optimists, etc.
what we ve learned
What We’ve Learned

What Works:

What Doesn’t Work:

Technical explanations and industry detail.

Events without a local partnership of some type.

General issues of reliability that don’t show an immediate effect on the home.

  • Simple language that relates to every day life.
  • Cost savings in real monthly dollar terms.
  • Tips on easy changes to reduce costs.
  • Easy-to-follow steps.
  • Partnerships with locally-based groups who can assist in event planning and promotion.