Pennsylvania Power & Light (PPL) Electric Utilities faced a growing concern in late 2009 with the recent passage of Act 129, and the expiration of a rate cap on generation charges that had been around since the late 1990’s. Price controls currently in place would expire on December 31, 2009, and PPL was concerned that customers with a limited income would have a difficult time paying higher energy prices. In addition, PPL was required to adopt an energy efficiency and conservation plan to reduce energy demand and consumption within their service territory. Lastly, PPL struggled to engage residential customers in energy efficiency programs due to a concern with counterfeit marketing. To meet their needs, PPL released an RFP seeking an energy efficiency program intended to capture the interest of their low-income customers while generating verified energy savings.
Resource Action Programs® (RAP) proposed the Easy Savings Program, an energy efficiency program designed to reach low-income customers and provide this hard-to-reach segment with the tools necessary to lower their utility bills.
RAP crafted the program around E-PowerWise branding, a look that had already been introduced in PPL’s marketing campaigns, and accepted by residential customers to increase the likelihood of program adoption. Additionally, RAP implemented an exclusive marketing and education strategy intended to expand market penetration and increase potential program savings. Capitalizing on the unique ability of Community Action Agencies (CAA’s) to reach and influence the low-income segment, RAP recruited CAA’s within PPL’s service territory to distribute the Easy Savings Kits and conduct energy efficiency education. This combined model, proprietary to RAP, results in higher installation rates, increased energy-savings, and long-term behavior change. Verified savings is achieved through a survey and home audit provided to participants that captures installation rates and energy-efficient steps taken as a result of the program.
To meet PPL’s goal of increased participation rates for phase 2 of the program, RAP introduced a direct-mail marketing campaign to engage income qualified customers living outside of agency reach. The mailer targeted rural areas within PPL’s service territory, enabling RAP to nearly double the annual participants. Phase 3 of the program begins in June of 2016 with a projected enrollment of 43,729 participants.