Power Connect Initiative

“The team at Southwest (Strategies) wrote and designed a suite of collateral materials that helped communicate about several of our local projects. They’ve also contributed to our outreach efforts in the region and have done an excellent job.”

– Shannon Koontz-Monis, Local Agency Liaison, PG&E

Bottom Line: Southwest Strategies developed a successful strategic community education program to help Pacific Gas and Electric Company determine potential transmission line routes and substation sites for the Power Connect Initiative.

Key Players

  • Regional elected officials
  • Regional trade associations
  • Residents and businesses in Fresno County
  • Residents and businesses in Kings County
  • Residents and businesses in Madera County
  • Residents and businesses in Merced County
  • Residents and businesses in San Joaquin County
  • Residents and businesses in San Luis Obispo County
  • Residents and businesses in Santa Clara County
  • Residents and businesses in Kern County

Our Challenge

In 2013, Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E), the largest public utility in California and one of the largest natural gas and electric energy companies in the United States, needed to conduct a robust public outreach and education program for a proposed new 230 kilovolt (kV) transmission line in Fresno, Kings and Madera counties. PG&E also needed to obtain community input about locations and routes for various transmission line and substation projects in Kern, San Luis Obispo, Merced, San Joaquin and Santa Clara counties. Understanding the questions and concerns that community members may have, PG&E reached out to a firm with the experience in this arena to effectively communicate with local stakeholders and help mitigate any potential issues. That firm was Southwest Strategies.

Environmental

Open space concerns

Tourism and hospitality apprehensions

Agriculture interference

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Our Solution

Our first task was to develop a cohesive brand for PG&E’s proposed projects. Public opinion polling and a series of four informal focus groups revealed that community members wanted the project names to indicate the new infrastructure’s location and purpose. As a result, the projects were collectively dubbed the “Power Connect” initiative. Each project name referred to a general area, such as “Central Valley” or “South County.” From there, we created project-specific materials and messaging to help us tell the story to individual communities and hear what stakeholders had to say, including:

  • Community partnerships to prepare economic studies to show project benefits
  • Bilingual collateral templates
  • Websites, fact sheets, brochures, newsletters and direct mail pieces
  • Project tours
  • Briefings, community presentations and open houses
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Results

Our efforts helped PG&E educate local communities about the Power Connect initiative and gather the input needed to refine potential transmission line routes and substation sites. Because of our success, PG&E continues to bring in Southwest Strategies to provide communications and outreach support for various projects.

487 briefings and presentations

49 open houses with 1k+ participants

9 printed newsletters

30 enewsletters

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Dedicated to Strategy

Our expertise, strategic guidance and innovative approach have made Southwest Strategies California’s leading public affairs and public outreach firm. Our clients come to us because we work harder, we produce more – and we get results. We design creative strategies to solve the complex issues that our clients – large and small – face every day. Let us put our knowledge, capabilities and creativity to work for you.

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