Ensuring the safety of our employees, our customers and the public is a responsibility that Xcel Energy takes very seriously. We want everyone who lives, works or gathers near our facilities to be aware of possible hazards and to respond safely to them.
To do this, we provide comprehensive outreach programs that promote safe behavior among our customers, communities, emergency responders and third-party workers. Our goal is to prevent accidents that can result in serious injury or death, property damage, costly repairs or fines and decreased service reliability. Most serious accidents happen because someone directly or indirectly makes contact with an overhead electric line, digs into an electric or natural gas line, or fails to respond safely to the warning signs of a natural gas or electric emergency.
Our public safety program’s primary goal is to ensure Xcel Energy maintains compliance with American Petroleum Institute Public Awareness Programs for Pipeline Operators Recommended Practice 1162 (API RP1162). But, keeping the public safe is more than just a requirement at Xcel Energy, it’s a value. We share safety messages with customers, communities, investors, employees, public officials, at-risk workers, educators and the utility industry with the goal of increasing safety awareness and ensuring these stakeholders trust Xcel Energy facilities and services are safe. By going beyond compliance, we can ensure that we are doing our part to help keep the public safe and that the Xcel Energy brand is synonymous with trust, safety and value.
Xcel Energy introduced the new Always Delivering campaign in mid-2016, which is based on the idea that energy, along with Xcel Energy’s products and services, is largely invisible. But if we could somehow make energy visible, we could drive customers to think about it—and us—differently. The campaign uses simple language; consistent, entertaining visuals; subtle humor and a friendly approach we think will resonate with our customers.
Our goal for the safety aspects of the 2016 advertising campaign was to focus on increasing awareness of four critical public safety messages: call before you dig, overhead lines, natural gas and ice on meters. We used a mix of media in order to reach as many customers as possible. Through strategic paid media placements, we achieved the following channel impressions:
Note: Numbers include data from both before and after the introduction of the Always Delivering campaign in July 2016.
Raising awareness about the dangers associated with activities near overhead and underground electric and natural gas lines is no easy task. We send direct mail to thousands of customers each year and offer free safety materials through fulfillment programs and partner organizations. We also offer online safety resources for elementary educators, students and their parents, and third-party workers. Here’s a list of the tactics Xcel Energy employs to raise public safety awareness:
Here’s how we reach out to the public to raise awareness about:
In 2016, we set a target of 1.30 or fewer accidental dig-ins to our underground gas or electric service per 1,000 underground locate requests. While that goal was not met (actual was 1.34), our overall progress toward limiting damages to our system remains intact. Since 2008, we have reduced the damage incident-rate per 1,000 facility locates by 28 percent.
Xcel Energy is a member of the Common Ground Alliance, a member-driven association committed to saving lives and preventing damage to underground infrastructure by promoting effective damage prevention practices. The association’s most well-known initiative is the establishment of a three-digit national phone number people can call before they dig to get underground utility lines marked.
Here are a few of the outreach efforts we employed in 2016 to increase awareness about calling 811 before you dig:
Contact with electricity can result in serious injury or even death. As such, Xcel Energy continually tries to engage the public in understanding that they should stay away from our equipment conducting electricity, such as overhead lines, underground lines, downed power lines and damaged electrical equipment. Here are a few of the outreach efforts we employed in 2016 to increase awareness about electric safety:
Through our membership with the national nonprofit Pipeline Association for Public Awareness (PAPA) and our participation in state-specific pipeline associations, as well as Minnesota’s Community Awareness Emergency Response (CAER) association, we helped distribute the following materials in states where we have natural gas distribution and transmission pipelines:
Our Responding to Utility Emergencies online training provides local emergency responders, such as firefighters and law enforcement, with important safety information about situations involving natural gas pipelines and electricity. We also share safety information in our communities through traditional advertising, our website, social media sites and our electronic newsletters and inserts in billing statements.
Here are the ways we reached out to emergency responders and public officials in 2016:
Third-party excavation damage remains the biggest threat to our natural gas distribution systems. To spread awareness, we engage in fulfillment programs that provide safety information to third-party workers and contractors. We offer free videos and related safety materials that address the specific needs of these audiences. Our programs also direct workers to our e-SMART worker website, where safety information is continuously available.
Here are the ways we reached out to third-party contractors in 2016:
Our fulfillment programs provide safety information to children and educators, including principals and superintendents, with a focus on second-through sixth-grade students. We offer free videos and related safety materials that address the specific needs of these audiences. Our programs also direct workers and elementary educators—including younger students and their parents—to our our e-SMART kids website, where safety information is continuously available.
Here are the ways we reached out to educators in 2016:
Find information on our programs to keep employees safe.
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