SPOTLIGHT: Three Tips to Educate Members

Posted on May 17, 2017


Inside of Central Electric Cooperative’s Power Outage Guide brochure. Click for full brochure.

In an age of diversified power supply, electric scams and environmental policies, empowering members with quality information is critical.

Responding to this need led Central Electric Cooperative to prepare a Power Outage Guide brochure, which won Gold for NRECA’s 2017 Spotlight on Excellence Award Best Special Publication (Small).

Cover of the Power Outage Guide brochure. Click to expand.

In preparing for the brochure, Communications Coordinator Courtney Cobb went back to the fundamentals of power.

“We were tasked with a project to try to better educate our members on what happens during an outage situation,” says Courtney.

CEC’s customer service representatives were fielding member questions such as why it takes so long to restore power in remote areas, and during off hours and weekends.

The brochure helped alleviate the pressure on the utility’s CSRs.

“We really tried to focus on the basics and what members need to understand about what occurs during an outage,” says Courtney.

A key feature of the brochure is a power restoration flow chart.

“We thought the best way to tell the story was to use a flow chart,” says Courtney. “This way you could see the differences of what happens during regular business hours and during off hours.”

The brochure also covers topics such as medical equipment, outage reporting and communication during an outage.

“We also tried to include a lot of information about what members can do during an outage situation to help get the power back on,” says Courtney.

Courtney offers three tips to educate members:

  1. Blanket approach. CEC strives to meet members where they are. The brochure was presented at homeowner association meetings, included in new member packets and is mailed before planned outages.
  2. Repurpose artwork. The flow chart is on CEC’s website, posted on social media and periodically printed in Ruralite magazine.
  3. Share with local media. The brochure helped Courtney explain outage situations to local media. Central Oregon is a starter market for rookie reporters, Courtney says. The brochure is a teaching tool for new reporters assigned to write about outages.

More members in the Spotlight

Read about our members 2017 Spotlight wins:

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