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Wrapping Up 2019 at Your Utility

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The holiday-themed commercials, Christmas music and falling temperatures are sure signs 2019 is coming to an end.

So, what does that mean for your utility?

Mostly, it’s a time to look forward to 2020, but you also need to recap 2019.

A document that summarizes 2019 is in order. Whether you include it as a bill stuffer, send it as an email, post it to your website or share it on social media (or some combination of those and other outlets), a recap is a useful tool.

There can even be more than one version of the document. It could be a letter to employees, an email to customers, a press release for the media, a note on the website or a note to shareholders.

You should write your document even if 2019 isn’t going to be considered a banner year at your utility. No matter what the problem was, you can try to spin it positively and detail how it will make the utility better in 2020 and beyond.

If you had a good year, feel free to talk up your accomplishments.

If you’re writing more than one version of the document, you’ll have to tailor it for specific audiences, but if you’re only writing one letter, consider using a somewhat casual style.

Avoid industry jargon wherever you can and minimize any technical discussion by keeping the writing conversational. Of course you can highlight the highlights; avoid bragging, however, and explain why the news is important.

Things you might want to discuss include strong earnings, assuming you’re publicly traded; awards won by employees or the company; efficiency improvement measures; new or prominent hirings; and community involvement projects.

Keep the discussion of each item brief, as you should have announced all this material earlier in the year.

Going back to bad news, be careful. Criminal activity shouldn’t be mentioned, nor should any other embarrassments. But if there are extenuating circumstances to things such as poor earnings or extreme numbers of power outages, it’s OK to offer an explanation.

Keep the overall letter short – it should fit on one side of a standard 8x11 Word document, which is about the length of this post.

Finally, send out your message a couple weeks before Christmas so it doesn’t get lost in the year-end deluge of holiday messaging.

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