Jan. 27, 2011
PGE’s Operation Switch wins national Public Affairs Council award
Energy efficiency program brings public together to turn small steps into big change
PORTLAND, Ore. – Portland General Electric (NYSE: POR) today received the Public Affairs Council's prestigious Grassroots Innovation Award for PGE’s Operation Switch, an innovative online community experiment that encouraged almost 1,000 people to join together to take simple, inexpensive steps to be more energy efficient in their homes.
The award, which recognizes excellence in grassroots advocacy campaigns, was presented to PGE by the Public Affairs Council at the national Grassroots Conference in Key West, Fla.
“Our customers are committed to making energy efficiency part of their day-to-day lives. PGE is honored to receive this award on their behalf,” said Gail Baker, PGE’s director of corporate communications. “Energy efficiency is an inexpensive way for customers to reduce their energy use, and efforts like Operation Switch demonstrate how working together, we can truly make a difference.”
Operation Switch (Switch.PortlandGeneral.com) is made up of a series of energy-efficiency “missions,” each suggesting a simple action anyone can take — like changing to compact fluorescent light bulbs, washing clothes in cold water, or turning off the screensaver function on computers. Each mission allowed a set of days to take action.
The most successful mission included 800 people installing just one energy-saving showerhead each. That one action helped create 262,400 kilowatt hours of energy savings, enough to power 24 average PGE customer homes for a year.
PGE encouraged participants to share their experiences by either tweeting or leaving a comment on the mission post. After each mission, PGE reported back to the community how much energy was saved by working together, and what it meant in terms of pounds of carbon dioxide offset, trees planted or homes powered. Operation Switch launched in spring 2010.
“The Public Affairs Council’s Grassroots Innovation Awards identify organizations that are raising the bar for effective, creative, and authentic grassroots,” said Rikki Amos, associate director, Public Affairs Council. “We are proud to recognize organizations like Portland General Electric for their innovative methods of engaging their communities on important issues like energy efficiency and proving yet again that real people can make a real difference when provided the right tools.”
PGE worked on the concept of Operation Switch with the Portland-based digital strategy agency Fight, which also designed the site. Operation Switch is part of a continuing collaboration with the agency to energize an online audience on energy-efficiency issues, and PGE’s ongoing commitment to help customers save money and protect the environment by providing information and programs that encourage energy savings. Over the next decade, PGE will be working with customers to capture half of its load growth from energy efficiency.
Visit Switch.PortlandGeneral.com to learn more.
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About Portland General Electric Company
Portland General Electric, headquartered in Portland, Ore., is a fully integrated electric utility that serves approximately 822,000 residential, commercial and industrial customers in Oregon. Visit our website at PortlandGeneral.com.
For more information, contact:
Elaina Medina, PGE,