CEO’s Report: Why promote electrification?

June 6, 2023

Our recent edition of the Power Plus featured social media posts you can use to promote incentives offered by Heartland Energy.

Offering incentives is one thing, but they don’t serve a purpose unless people know about them. We want your customers to have all the information available to them in order to make an informed decision.

As you may recall, we made changes to our Power Forward rebates at the beginning of the year. While we are still promoting energy efficiency, we are focusing on utilizing electricity as the most efficient overall source of energy.

As electricity providers, we seek to promote beneficial electrification, the act of replacing fossil fuel use with electricity to reduce energy costs and emissions and improve efficiency.

Heartland Energy recently provided graphics, similar to the image at left, that you can use to help promote electrification and our Power Forward incentives in your community.

Why electrification?

When we first started promoting energy efficiency fifteen years ago, the idea was to essentially promote using less electricity. It seemed counterintuitive to encourage using less of the product we sell, but it was done in an effort to help consumers save energy and therefore, money.

We launched our rebate program to incentivize consumers to purchase the most efficient electric equipment available.

Today, we can help consumers save money by promoting greater use of the product we’re selling. We are still promoting the use of the most efficient appliances and systems. However, we’re also promoting the idea of using electricity as the main source of energy.

Public power utilities can benefit greatly from electrification. We should all make a conscious effort to promote the greater use of electricity. Here’s why:

  • Long-term strategy for sustained growth 

    Electrification supports the development of other city projects and infrastructure. Increased sales of electricity mean increased revenue for the city.Electrification also supports employee wages. Attracting and retaining quality employees is imperative to the success of your utility and your community. Public power communities have an advantage in that they have electric sales to aid in this effort. Increasing sales only strengthens your advantage.

    Because electricity in public power communities is sold at the local level, your community as a whole benefits. Why buy gas or propane from a company outside of your community? Promoting the sale of electricity is the epitome of shopping local.

  • Utilize available capacity 

    Unused capacity is unearned revenue.Electrification turns unused capacity into revenue. It’s no different than inventory at a retail store. The goal is to sell everything on the shelves and not let anything go to waste.

    If your utility has excess capacity, you’re leaving that revenue on the table. That’s revenue that could be used to make other improvements in the city.

  • Improved quality of life 

    Electrification improves the quality of life for your residents.Electric appliances do not emit any harmful gases, thereby virtually eliminating the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning in an all-electric home.

    There is also no risk of a gas leak or explosion with an all-electric home.


Benefits to your customers

Electrification isn’t just good for the utility. More and more homeowners are making the switch to electricity to increase efficiency in their homes.

Heat pumps are generally more energy efficient than other heating and cooling systems because they use electricity to move heat, rather than create it. They can produce the same amount of heat using less energy.

Heat pumps also provide cooling, meaning only one system is needed.

Many electric appliances, including furnaces, also have lower upfront costs than their gas counterparts. They also have a longer lifespan.

On top of that, there are incentives in the form of tax rebates for many electric appliances including air source heat pumps, further driving down the cost.


Promoting electrification

It only makes sense to promote a product you’re selling. But in doing so, we want to make sure consumers are making informed decisions and choosing efficient options.

For example, air source heat pumps were not previously considered to be efficient options in the cold Midwest winters. Technology improvements have changed that.

Today, certain heat pumps are made specifically for cold climates and considered extremely efficient. They are specifically designed to work in cold temperatures and can provide plenty of heat on the coldest winter days.

As utilities, we need to help get this type of information out to our customers. The social media posts we sent are a good start.

I encourage you to share these on your city social media pages. We are working on some other means of promotion, but if you have any suggestions for other ways we can market these programs, we are open to hearing your ideas. You know your customers best and we want to know how we can best spread the message.

Should you have any questions about our electrification programs or incentives, please contact Heartland Chief Communications Officer Ann Hyland.