ISO-New England

Challenge

ISO New England Inc. (ISO-NE), an independent, not-for-profit corporation, helps promote the health of New England's economy and protect the well-being of its people by ensuring the constant availability of electricity, today and for future generations. ISO New England meets this obligation in three ways: by reliably operating New England’s 32,000-megawatt bulk electric power generation and transmission system, by overseeing and ensuring the fair administration of the region's $10 billion wholesale electricity markets, and by managing comprehensive regional electric power planning.

As the manager of the New England power grid, ISO-NE is in the strongest position to understand the system’s needs.  ISO-NE realized is that demand, especially on peak days during the summer and winter, is far outstripping the area’s power supply.  Without new generation coming on line and without a change in behavior by residential and institutional consumers, New England could face potential energy shortages as early as summer 2007. Even a 5% reduction in energy consumption on peak days, ISO-NE concluded, would save the region in both dollars and needed megawatts. 

In light of New England’s pressing energy supply needs, ISO New England sought to undertake an education and awareness campaign, directed at consumers in Massachusetts and Connecticut, regarding the need for energy efficiency. 

Solution

O’Neill and Associates provided a comprehensive media relations and community outreach campaign to bring ISO-NE’s urgent message of energy efficiency to the audiences it sought. O’Neill and Associates developed and implemented the “Take Charge New England” campaign which included the following elements:

  • Strategic planning to assess targeted audiences and best ways to reach each
  • Development of campaign theme, messages, slogan, and graphic identity and website
  • Cultivation of strategic partnerships with key business leaders such as the Associated Industries of Massachusetts (AIM), the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, and the Connecticut Business & Industry Association (CBIA); important non-profit partners, including the Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnership and the Conversation Law Foundation; policymakers and public officials, including the Attorney General of Connecticut, Richard Blumenthal, the Massachusetts Secretary of Economic Development Ranch Kimball, and the Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts, Kerry Healey; and retail sponsors Lowe’s Home Improvement and Energy Star, the U.S. government program dedicated to energy efficiency.
  • Coordination of simultaneous launch events in Massachusetts and Connecticut that included representation from ISO New England, business leaders, and elected officials.
  • Coordination of speaking opportunities throughout New England for ISO-NE leaders, including regional chambers of commerce.
  • Development of collateral materials, including a consumer and business handouts, leave-behind refrigerator magnets, posters, and billboards.
  • A radio and television public service announcement campaign as well as outreach to area meteorologists for their assistance.
  • Grassroots outreach and visibilities, known as “Take Charge Thursdays” at shopping and transportation centers throughout New England

Results

ISO-NE’s results included:

  • Over 20 press hits in major media outlets, including The Boston Globe, The Boston Herald, The Worcester Telegram and Gazette, The Connecticut Post, WNPR, and WCVB including a well-received op-ed in the Boston Globe.
  • Broadcasts of radio and television PSAs in Connecticut and Massachusetts;
  • Eight billboards in both urban and suburban communities in Massachusetts;
  • Positive feedback from business and community leaders, including members of the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce, the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce and the CBIA.

Additionally, ISO New England increased its visibility in a positive way, creating public awareness of its mission and goals as the manager of the region’s power grid.

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