American Gas - June 2011 - (Page 18)

Russ St. Gelais, a service technician for Vermont Gas, works on a conversion project. Today, 62 percent of the homes and businesses in the new communities that had been using heating oil or propane use natural gas. reinforcing the same four-pronged value proposition. Direct mail allowed us to target those streets where new service would be available. Taking a page from the grassroots marketing playbook, we also delivered “door knockers” to homes and businesses. An important part of our messaging was a map that showed the expansion footprint. In all instances, the new service was limited to the village area and nearby streets. We knew we would not be able to serve requests from people outside the footprint. By showing the map over and over again, we averted potential disappointment. Another vital component was a special page on our website that was dedicated to each community’s expansion. The page was prominently promoted in all communications, and it allowed potential customers to receive a free estimate while showing the potential streets to be served, why conversion makes sense, fuel cost comparisons, and home and business incentives. Finally, in Vermont communities, you can’t move forward on a project without getting in front of the people. And you certainly can’t just roll into a rural town and start construction. By the time people received mailers, saw an ad or read a story, they had likely also attended one of our signature events, an Open House, or at least heard about one. The events took place at community buildings (town hall, the elementary school) and featured Vermont Gas personnel from across various departments, including engineering, construction, field services, customer service, energy efficiency, and sales and marketing. The events were a big hit, with a number of people attending and a positive atmosphere pervading. The Outcome The economic and environmental benefits added up fast. With 62 percent of eligible customers now having converted to natural gas, the three communities are saving approximately $2 million per year (based on today’s fuel prices) and reducing carbon dioxide emissions annually by 1,765 tons. In addition, each community received a noticeable increase in its property tax revenues from mains and service installed in the towns. In a survey we conduct following conversions across our entire service area, we ask customers to rate their experience in switching. Approximately 86 percent have rated it as “Excellent” or “Very Good.” Customer satisfaction is, ultimately, our bottom line. Innovative Detection Solutions Implications for Future Growth In the near term, Vermont Gas continues to expand, first into another community and then into another county. Our long-term vision, however, is that our recent success will have laid the foundation to be connected to a far larger system: the U.S. natural gas system. For 45 years, our natural gas supply has come exclusively from Canada. The future could well bring a connection to the U.S. natural gas system and additional opportunities. Call Toll-Free: 888 473 6748 • Email: 18 June 2011 AmericAn GAs Check out what’s new at:

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of American Gas - June 2011

American Gas - June 2011
President’s Message
In the News
To Be the Best
Tech Talk
Ever Vigilant
Listing of Exhibitors in Alphabetical Order
AGA Operations Conference Exhibit Hall Floor Plan
Listing of Exhibitors by Booth Number
In the News
Places to Be
Advertisers’ Index
Facts on Gas

American Gas - June 2011