The utility industry seems to have reached a watershed moment on EE … it has done such a good job that load growth has been halted, but customers are still not doing all that well. We all seem to agree that the basic problem is the economy is not growing and where it does; it is not producing the jobs that have been lost. So, we all seem to agree that growing the local economy is important and beneficial.
Then how about making that a priority in our local relationships? If you have a key account program, do you have an extension to small business? That is where we all know the growth comes from. In addition, what are your purchasing practices? Do you buy local where you can? And, if you don’t because you feel the local supplier prices is higher, do you consider any premium over the lowest price being justified because the money stays in the community?
Economists all understand the trickledown theory and it has a lot of intuitive and relational value. Money spent in the community not only helps preserve the companies directly, but also tends to support many other goods and services in the community. This can obviously support and create jobs.
Sure, that may not help the general economy across the country, but let’s face it. A utility’s relationship to its communities is local. Maybe it is time that we made that more of a priority.
I remember when I came into this industry and started working with Georgia Power. The industrial marketing reps wore special red ties that indicated Georgia Power supported the textile industry. That represents big industry, but I also remember when I bought my first typewriter directly from IBM. Their representative came to my house and helped me select one. After it arrived, he checked in with me to be sure it was working well. A few months later, he called to see if I would like another typeface and some new ribbons. He stopped by every six months to visit and I asked him how we could justify that. To this day, I cherish his perspective when he offered this explanation:
“Joel, I can tell that you are going to be a successful entrepreneur. And, when you need other things to help your company succeed, I want you to always come to me for help. One of these days, you might place an order for 100 or even 1,000 typewriters. The relationship I have with you is everything to me.”
Relationships and helping people succeed through serving others in those relationships is pretty good advice for any business these days. secure web browser .