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Engaging the Public into Climate Resilience

This case study explores how to successfully engage the public in managing electricity demand.

Summary

Managing electricity consumption is a sometimes-neglected way of coping with the demand peaks caused by extreme temperatures. There are several reasons that few companies follow this approach: it runs counter to their core business of selling electricity, for instance. And since the effectiveness of the approach depends entirely on the ability of a company to convince consumers to take action, communications expertise is essential. Réseau de Transport d’Électricité de France (RTE) followed this approach to successfully manage demand for electricity with an initiative known as ÉcoWatt. As a transmission-system operator, RTE balances electricity supply and demand by managing fluctuations in output and forecasting demand peaks. In the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur (PACA) and Brittany regions, the utility uses ÉcoWatt to decrease peak demand and increase the network’s climate resilience. Over the long term, this benefits everyone: RTE is better able to manage the supply of electricity and the public learns about—and contributes to—managing important energy issues.

Key take-away

  • A well-designed communications campaign can help educate the public about climate resilience and engage people to take action
  • A positive message that has strong links to the environment, sustainable development, and social responsibility helps to engage the media and the public in climate resilience efforts

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