Every now and again, I get an email from PR Daily. Sometimes, it has stories about the biggest PR disaster of the X, where X is a period of time. Here is one that I think actually deserves that title. First, go read the article, then, come back and let's discuss how much went wrong.
Hainey serves up an early awesome quote: "It's the law," said Pepco spokesman Bob Hainey. "It's called bill stabilization."
Let me tell you something: "It's a stupid idea. It's called basic public relations." You do not charge people for services they did not receive because you could not fix their problem fast enough. In fact, at a restaurant, if the hostess takes an order but, for some reason, they don't serve it for like, I dunno, three hours? Sometimes, this is outrageous, I know, but work with me here. Sometimes, they comp the customer for their error.
Gould is, at least, a bit more honest: "I think what you're saying is accurate," said BGE spokesman Rob Gould. "I'm not sure how it applies to BGE customers."
Let me tell you something Gould. Here's how it should apply to BGE customers: It should not. You know why? Because then, Pepco customers will become BGE customers if they can. You can even run an advertisement about it: "We didn't charge you for not having power." The ad writes itself. Since it kicks in automatically, you will literally have to comp the refund back to your customers. You know what this will do?
They will see on their bill: "Refund for bill stabilization fee," then package with each bill, or email out to all of your clients, however you contact them, a mea culpa, signed by the company bigwigs. Then, state that BGE is going to lobby to end the practice of bill stabilization because customers should not be punished.
Take my advice. Don't you want to take Pepco's customers away like the Pied Piper stole away children? ... That may not be the best analogy, child kidnapping being a bad thing. But, go with it. Maryland politicians running on the local level, I am going to hand you a free vote winner: Repeal bill stabilization.
It doesn't matter which side the politician is on. Votes will be won.