1 May 2013

Knowledge is Power - Origin says energy industry is failing to communicate; launches new digital and social media push

A new national survey released today has revealed what many Australians have long suspected - the energy sector has failed to engage and inform consumers.

The Galaxy survey found that almost half of all Australians have sought information on energy, but only 14 per cent can correctly identify what actually contributes most to residential electricity consumption, and rely on Google for assistance instead of their energy company.

Origin Executive General Manager Phil Craig said that while the energy industry has tried many different methods to help inform consumers about energy over the years, many of the methods are outdated and the sector has not kept up with the times.

"Hundred-page reports, broad ranging websites, colourful bill messages and inserts, and beautifully filmed television commercials are not working. There is plenty of debate about energy, but the industry has not kept up with how people consume information. As a consequence, while our job is to keep the lights on, when it comes to information we've left our customers somewhat in the dark.

"Origin is the industry leader and we acknowledge that if things are going to change then it should start with us. These days people are time poor and want access to simple and engaging information at the time, and through the channels, they choose. So Origin is doing something different, and launching a major upgrade to how it communicates information via digital and social media channels."

Core to the strategy will be a new knowledge hub - Energy Explorer - which will be housed on the Origin website and is designed to be a key resource for customers seeking more information about energy. The site deliberately avoids industry jargon to ensure it is consumer friendly and helpful.

Getting customers and the community to take notice, and starting the energy conversation, is critical to success.

"We turned to the creator of the short, entertaining fact - Fantales", said Mr Craig. "We saw a huge opportunity to bring a modern twist to this time honoured Australian tradition, and we have launched 25 lolly-sized Origin Energy Tales featuring interesting and amusing stories and facts about energy," Mr Craig said.

The Origin Energy Tales will be supported by a social media campaign #knowledgeispower and a specific website - www.knowledgeispower.com.au - which contains all 25 Origin Energy Tales plus links into the Energy Explorer domain for additional information about energy use, management, and the wide range of energy options available.

Origin is believed to have scored an Australian first with its adapted version of the iconic lollies, which have traditionally only ever carried film trivia. The Origin Energy Tales will have a mass distribution over the next three days across Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Gold Coast and Adelaide in high traffic locations and selected cafes.

"Distributing Origin Energy Tales is just a first step in our quest to engage the community, and help everyone understand more about the energy we consume. It is a fun way to start - light-hearted and accessible - and literally puts industry information into people's hands," Mr Craig said. "We hope this is the start of a conversation and a more open exploration of energy's importance, role and responsibility in supporting human development and growth."

The Galaxy research released today revealed:

  • 72 per cent of Australians consider themselves knowledgeable about energy and almost half of them (47 per cent) have conducted research on how to manage their energy use. However, there is still widespread confusion about what is contributing to household energy use and costs.
  • 32 per cent of Australians believe that cooling (air conditioners and fans) contribute the most to their energy consumption. The reality is that space cooling is on average only responsible for 6 per cent of household electricity usage. Appliances, which are on average responsible for more than half of household electricity usage, were correctly identified by only 14 per cent of Australians as the greatest contributor.
  • Consumers are also divided about who is responsible for the rising cost of electricity - with 17 per cent of Australians pointing the finger at electricity distribution companies and 26 per cent blaming electricity retailers.
  • Searching for tips to save money (71 per cent) is much more popular than searching for information on green energy (33 per cent).
  • Searching for tips to save money (71 per cent) is much more popular than searching for information on green energy (33 per cent).

* This study was conducted by Galaxy research online among a representative sample of Australians aged 18- 64 years. The sample was 1,009 respondents, distributed throughout Australia including both capital city and non capital city areas. Survey conducted March 25 - 27, 2013. An overview of results is available on request.


Contacts

Stuart Osbourne
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