Ameren Missouri Smart Energy Plan
Ameren Missouri Smart Energy Plan
Providing a Crucial Connection Between Energy Customers and Information
Ameren Missouri’s Smart Energy Plan details the utility’s commitment to provide reliable energy to metro St. Louis and beyond. Communication with customers is a top priority for Ameren Missouri, which led them to partner with our strategic communications team to engage and inform the community as plans shift into projects.
More than 2,000 infrastructure projects, including thousands of smart meters, wires and poles, underground power lines and substations, have been completed as part of the Smart Energy Plan, with more planned in the coming years. These upgrades will reduce the length and frequency of power outages, and reduce response times when outages do occur.
To enhance communication to people in upgrade areas, we’ve put together a programwide content strategy and protocol binder, guiding Ameren Missouri and project managers on how to provide proactive communication about construction work, including timelines, outcomes and tools. Ameren Missouri and our teams work within these communications goals:
- Develop customer-focused communications
- Engage communities and be an effective partner
- Educate communities on the project needs, benefits and construction process
- Highlight best practices in the field
- Provide streamlined access to the project team with a dedicated hotline and email
- Implement timely and consistent comment response and management system
We’ve assisted with project communication, reaching nearly 50,000 customers through almost 300 different efforts, including postcards, flyers, door hangers, public meetings, photo renderings and emails.
Offering a Direct Communication Line
We worked collaboratively with Ameren to create a local hotline, offering customers a crucial connection directly with our strategic communications team members, who can answer questions about the project. We answer calls live or call customers back with answers, as needed. This communication channel has enabled our Smart Energy project team to resolve customer issues quickly.
Two years into the Smart Energy Plan, we've received less than 150 calls or emails from customers — a small number and a sign that our proactive communications approach has worked.
Planning For Outages
One project that falls under the Smart Energy Plan is the Pershall project. To upgrade outdated wires, poles and transformers, Ameren has planned two, four-hour outages for some customers. This has affected almost 4,000 customers in north St. Louis, a historically underserved community in need of infrastructure upgrades.
A robust talking points document was developed to quickly and accurately address customer questions about planned outages. In addition, our team supported planning and facilitation of a series of virtual community meetings with local leaders and residents in advance of the project, informing people about what to expect in their community during the project lifecycle.
Prior to a planned outage, customers are given a project-specific door hanger with the planned power outage date and estimated start and completion times. If residents have questions, they are directed to the hotline or email, where one of our team members can provide answers.
The Smart Energy Plan is expected to continue through 2028. Our team continues to work with Ameren to ensure customer communication remains effective throughout.