BIPCo unveils Facebook page

To bolster communication
Sat, 03/18/2017 - 7:00am

The Block Island Power Company has a new Facebook page. BIPCo’s new Interim President Jeffery Wright, who has been stressing a need for greater transparency and communication by the company, created the page, which he said went live “a couple of weeks ago” with “bugs” being worked out.

“We are really just hoping to connect with our customers; to open a means of communication,” Wright told The Block Island Times, noting that the page has 120 followers and “our goal is 1,000 followers.” Wright said that although his goal is to have all “1,900 BIPCo customers as followers, realistically half would be good.”

Wright said he was impressed with how social media plays an integral role on Block Island. “I hope to use (the page) like the Block Island ferry company does, providing operational information, outages and outage restoration estimates, safety tips; to promote our great team here and gather information from our followers.”

According to Wright, the page has already had an impact on the power company and its customers. “We have already had one great success. Last week we posted a safety message, and a (Facebook) follower reported an unsafe situation that she had witnessed. Our crews were there within the hour and had the problem resolved and made safe.”

That story is an example of how Wright hopes the page will function. “We are trying hard to build customer engagement. We want customers to voice their concerns, and support for BIPCo. We want everyone to ask tough questions. We may not always have the answer, or sometimes have the answer people want to hear, but we want to communicate with everyone in an open and friendly way. Facebook allows us to do that; it has a fun social side to it, but it also allows us to be serious and communicate tough messages.”

BIPCo’s Facebook page features contact information, news items, useful tips, photos and videos. 

Wright said that he created the page, but had to enlist his wife’s help to get it up and running. “Not being a Facebook pro, I had to solicit help from my wife, who is an Information Technology professional, and the staff at BIPCo. With everyone’s help we figured out the administrative side of Facebook, and got it up and going. Now it is a team effort at BIPCo with three of us posting news and other information to it.”

“We really want this to be an avenue for two-way communication,” added Wright. “We encourage everyone to comment on our posts, ask tough questions and give us feedback, both good and bad, on how we are doing.”

Wright told The Times that BIPCo intends to roll out a brand new website in a few months. “That is a bit more of a project, and we hope to do it right,” he said. The website will contain more detailed information, and include: rate tariffs, the net metering policy and status, new customer information; and down the road will provide links for e-bill pay, and have a customer portal that will allow ratepayers to monitor their usage.