AEP Ohio Wins 2012 MEEA Marketing Award for Educating Businesses about Inefficient T12 Fluorescent Lights

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Jan. 13, 2012 tfrisbie@ksapr.com

AEP Ohio Wins 2012 MEEA Marketing Award for Educating Businesses about Inefficient T12 Fluorescent Lights

CHICAGOAEP Ohio has received the 2012 Inspiring Efficiency Marketing Award from the Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (MEEA) for the utility’s educational campaign urging commercial customers to change out inefficient T12 fluorescent lights. With the ubiquitous presence of T12 lights in every commercial segment, combined with the coming U.S. Department of Energy-mandated phase out of the lamps in July, AEP Ohio’s communication campaign has reached more than 100,000 commercial customers.

An example of the campaign’s success can be found in the education segment, where K-12 schools in Ohio have had their financial resources stretched thin. In just over three months (June 1 to Sept. 15), 30 schools/school districts have saved more than 2.4 gigawatt hours of electricity while receiving almost $290,000 in incentives. Additionally, the schools will save 30 to 40 percent on their electric bills every month thanks to T12 lamp retrofits. The effort creates a self-perpetuating cycle that allows the schools to re-invest in more energy efficiency measures.

In addition to schools, the campaign reached out to commercial customers in the following industries: small retail, small office, restaurant, medical and government. AEP Ohio customer service representatives served as the first point of contact, providing informational fact sheets to customers and answering questions. The effort was also boosted by direct mail and targeted advertising in industry-specific print and online outlets.  

“The T12 campaign educated commercial customers about the upcoming federal phase out and the impact on their business related to costs, the availability of bulbs and equipment, and efficiency gained by retrofitting to T8 or T5 lamps,” said MEEA Executive Director Jay Wrobel. “The campaign also sought to motivate commercial customers to change out the inefficient T12 lamps to realize long-term energy and financial savings. The campaign’s holistic approach is equal parts education and action, and both have lasting benefits to commercial customers in energy costs and corresponding energy savings.”

“The main challenge for AEP Ohio in this marketing campaign—and for just about every energy provider with an energy efficiency message—is getting its customers to overcome fear of the unknown and to embrace change,” said Andrew McCabe, manager of commercial and industrial programs, AEP Ohio. “In the short term, businesses and organizations are learning about the coming Department of Energy phase-out of some T12 lamps and what it means to them. Over the long run, AEP Ohio has given those same customers the tools to make a change that saves both energy and money at a time when savings of both is critical for success.”

Bestowed annually at the Midwest Energy Solutions Conference (www.meeaconference.org), MEEA’s Marketing Award is presented for engaging in or supporting a marketing campaign, program, strategy, or idea to increase the adoption of energy efficient products and/or best practices in the Midwest.


About Midwest Energy Solutions Conference

The Midwest Energy Solutions Conference is the largest event of its kind in the region. Each year it brings together a broad range of private- and public-sector thought leaders from around the nation who share a vested interest in energy efficiency.

The conference is presented by the Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (MEEA), the region’s source on energy efficiency. Formed in 2000, MEEA is committed to advancing sound energy efficiency programs, policies and priorities in the Midwest. MEEA’s membership represents a broad consortium of energy stakeholders from across a 13-state area.

Now in its 10th year, the conference continues to grow as energy efficiency investment increases in states across the Midwest. Responding to attendees, the conference has expanded to include a formal expo to provide more opportunities to highlight and promote energy efficiency programs, products and companies.