Communicating a Rate Increase The Story of a Stressed Communicator How NOT to Communicate a Rate Increase… 5. Tell your members that Ky. Gov. Ernie Fletcher is all for it….. 4. Tell members about the increase in one line on their May bill…. 3. At Annual Meeting, say “Oh, by the way…” 2. Put the announcement in Kentucky Living in code: “We are Having a Rate Increase!” Translated: “We are Having a Rate Increase.” And the #1 way NOT to Communicate a Rate Increase…. Encourage a “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” Policy about your increase What SKRECC Did… • 2005 – Informed employees that rate increase was imminent - Created a Communication Plan • Nov. 2005 – Employee meetings to address increase • Dec. 2005 – First Press Release informing members/public that SKRECC applied for an increase • Dec. 2005 – Press Release coincided with first Kentucky Living article regarding increase What SKRECC Did… • Jan. 2006 – Article in Kentucky Living – More “personal” – letter from CEO • Mar. 2006 –Memo about legal notice • Attachments including copy of notice and “Talking Points” • May 2006 – Annual Report in Kentucky Living addressed increase • June 2006 – Annual Meeting – Q & A available at co-op booth; addressed issue during state of the co-op address What SKRECC Did… • Sept. 2006 – Received notification from PSC of Rate Increase Approval – Immediately sent Press Release to local media about increase Plan of Attack • Include “key” players in decision making – management, employees, board • Develop your main message – No rate hike in X years; inflation; we want to help; Kentucky still one of the lowest rates in nation; alternative fuels comparison • Educate EVERYONE on the main message and related material – Develop Q & A or Talking Points for employees – Make sure management, employees, board understand and can talk about main message points • Provide a United Front! Deal with the Fall-Out • Members are going to be unhappy no matter what you say - Encourage employees to always be understanding, polite, etc. - Allow for open communication with members - Have Energy Advisors/Employees prepared to talk about co-op programs of assistance - Button-Up - Tune-Up - Energy Audits Questions? Ideas or Suggestions!