Back Forty

EPRI Journal looks back 40 years at the electricity sector and research

Customer Engagement: Important in the 1970s, Important Today

In an interview with EPRI Journal in the September 1978 issue, Virginia Electric and Power’s Public Relations Vice President Don McCammond emphasized the importance of candid communication between utilities and their customers. McCammond said that 1970 was “the dividing line between the old and the new attitude toward power companies. Before 1970, a new transmission line or a distribution line was greeted with open arms because people welcomed the convenience this service brought. Today, people want the convenience but they don’t want transmission or distribution lines crossing their property.”

McCammond added: “We have to rebuild those natural bridges to our customers that existed earlier. We need to remind people that we really are interested in them and in their dilemmas and problems. We just can’t sit by our phones and wait for them to call. We have got to try to anticipate their problems.”

This perspective is particularly relevant in today’s power industry as utility customers increasingly demand more service options and affordable, clean energy.