CPUC & IOUs TOU (ah yes, acronyms)

First ever TOU (time of use) message, communications strategy and media plan for 30M people.

The CPUC (California Public Utilities Commission) and all of California’s major IOUs (investor owner utilities – SCE, SDG&E, PG&E) were faced with a complex challenge–How to reach every California rate payer to encourage new energy-related behaviors while, simultaneously, introducing an entirely new pricing structure? We solved the problem. We brought together commissioners, CBOs (community based organizations), marketing executives, vendors, lawmakers and many others to help define and rally support for the strategy.


With a four-year strategy nicknamed “air cover”, the CPUC and IOUs have a way to connect with Californians that is both believable and clear. At the core of the strategy the state provides the macro-messaging and reason-for-being (the air cover) so the individual utilities can communicate on local and personalized levels with their customers. We coupled this with a state-wide media plan. 

Some of the marketing we did:

  • A four year go-to-market and messaging strategy for the CPUC and each of the the three major utilities (PG&E, SCE and SDG&E)
  • Defined the messaging platform and key message points for both the state and each of the regions
  • Architected the end to end customer experience with the three IOU brands as well as the state sub-brands
  • Statewide and utility-specific tactics:
    • Direct marketing
    • Media plan (digital and mass media)
    • Digital & social media
    • Media plans and budgets
  • State-wide and geo-centric audience segmentation
  • Measurement plan, KPIs and metrics
  • Bill comparison strategy and tactics
  • Marketing and oversight committee team (re)structure

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