Wednesday, May 02, 2007

The PUC's Novel Approach to Consumer Education.

Tomorrow, representatives of the Public Utilities Commission will be in San Bernardino for the "Utility Bill Fair," a half-day event where consumers can meet with representatives from their cell phone companies, water agencies, natural gas companies and power providers. Consumers will have the opportunity to ask questions and learn about-- and sign up for-- incentive programs and conservations measures.

Face time. What a novel concept.

If California is serious about changing consumer behavior when it comes to energy usage patterns, service providers all over the state, in every energy sector are going to have to educate their customers and facilitate their use of innovative new programs designed to encourage smarter energy consumption.

No amount of promotional inserts stuffed behind a monthly bill will induce enough consumers to alter their plans or change their behaviors.

Similarly, as long as service providers continue to hide behind impenetrable automoated phone trees ("Please slelect from one of the following 19 options... press pound to hear the options again..."), people simply will not make the effort to take advantage of new, more efficient energy options.

As antiquated a notion as this may sound, the kind of personal interaction that the PUC is doing tomorrow in San Bernardino is what is going to be required to effect a wholesale change in consumer behavior.

Utility Bill Fair will be in SB Thursday [San Bernardino Sun]