Which oil companies are social?
By Tina Samuels
When the public thinks of oil companies, the perception is usually not so positive. It can be difficult for oil companies to combat such negative ideas. Many have found social media to be a daunting place.
With so much negative press for oil companies, opening up to even more of an onslaught from thousands, if not possibly millions can be viewed as yet one more hopeless avenue. Even in this light of negative views there are a few oil companies doing things right with social media.
Here's a look at who is making social media home and gaining fans.
Shell has more fans and interaction than any other oil company in social media. On Facebook alone the company has more than three million 'Likes'. Not only does Shell have a Facebook page, they have a huge presence on Twitter and LinkedIn.
On LinkedIn the company has five different accounts and a combined connection rate of nearly 500,000 people. Their Twitter account has more than 100,000 followers and Shell welcomes all people to share their views of the company.
Shell updates their accounts frequently which allow investors and customers to see what the company is up to. This is where many oil companies forget that they're missing a chance to create positive images for their companies and their staff. Shell took on many social networks and did well by keeping their involvement going every day.
This company has more than 60,000 connections on LinkedIn, nearly 11,000 on Twitter, and more than 6,000 fans on Facebook. Statoil has a LinkedIn group with over 27,000 members who share news and have insightful discussions concerning energy.
Through social media Statoil is driving awareness, reaching new potential customers, and engaging their community.
To get conversations going the company's social media manager posted questions on the LinkedIn group's page which gets members interested and ready to have great conversations.
A relatively small company compared to most others, Payson Petroleum has a unique presence in social media.
The company has a small following on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook with well under 10,000 followers combined across all networks.
After a second look it becomes apparent that Payson is doing something right, as their YouTube channel has had over 400,000 views.
Payson uses YouTube to post videos where the director of client relations asks the CEO of the company questions about their company. As an independent oil company this video strategy allows the company to teach potential clients and investors more about the inner workings of Payson.
This company has several pages set up on Facebook, which correspond to their customers in regions across the U.S.
Chesapeake has more than 20,000 likes on Facebook, over 18,000 on their LinkedIn page with an additional 7,646 in their LinkedIn Chesapeake Energy Careers group. Their Twitter account has nearly 40,000 followers, while their YouTube channel boasts more than 600,000 views.
By reaching out to customers, updating frequently, and allowing differing points of opinion, these companies have made a mark on social media.
About the Author: Tina Samuels writes on budgeting software, social media, marketing, and small business solutions.
Ofwat allows retailers to raise prices from April
Retailers can recover a portion of excess bad debt by temporarily increasing prices from April 2022, according to an Ofwat statement.
The regulator confirmed its view that levels of bad debt costs across the business retail market are exceeding 2% of non-household revenue, thereby allowing "a temporary increase" in the maximum prices. Adjustments to price caps will apply for a minimum of two years to reduce the step changes in price that customers might experience.
Measures introduced since March 2020 to contain the spread of Covid-19 could lead to retailers facing higher levels of customer bad debt. Retailers’ abilities to respond to this are expected to be constrained by Ofwat strengthening protections for non-household customers during Covid-19 and the presence of price caps.
In April last year, Ofwat committed to provide additional regulatory protection if bad debt costs across the market exceeded 2% of non-household revenue.
Georgina Mills, Business Retail Market Director at Ofwat said: “These decisions aim to protect the interests of non-household customers in the short and longer term, including from the risk of systemic Retailer failure as the business retail market continues to feel the impacts of COVID-19. By implementing market-wide adjustments to price caps, we aim to minimise any additional costs for customers in the shorter term by promoting efficiency and supporting competition.”
There are also three areas where Ofwat has not reached definitive conclusions and is seeking further evidence and views from stakeholders:
- Pooling excess bad debt costs – Ofwat proposes that the recovery of excess bad debt costs is pooled across all non-household customers, via a uniform uplift to price caps.
- Keeping open the option of not pursuing a true up – For example if outturn bad debt costs are not materially higher than the 2% threshold.
- Undertaking the true up – If a 'true up' is required, Ofwat has set out how it expects this to work in practice.
Further consultation on the proposed adjustments to REC price caps can be expected by December.
"While it’s great that regulators are helping the industry deal with bad debt in the wake of the pandemic, raising prices only treats the symptoms. Instead, water companies should head upstream, using customer data to identify and rectify the causes of bad debt, stop it at source and help prevent it from occurring in the first place," she said.
"While recouping costs is a must, water companies shouldn’t just rely on the regulator. Data can help companies segment customers, identify and assist customers that are struggling financially, avoiding penalising the entire customer in tackling the cause of the issue."
United Utilities picks up pipeline award
A race-against-time plumbing job to connect four huge water pipes into the large Haweswater Aqueduct in Cumbria saw United Utilities awarded Utility Project of the Year by Pipeline Industries Guild.
The Hallbank project, near Kendal, was completed within a tight eight-day deadline, in a storm and during the second COVID lockdown last November – and with three hours to spare. Principal construction manager John Dawson said the project helped boost the resilience of water supplies across the North West.
“I think what made us stand out was the scale, the use of future technology and the fact that we were really just one team, working collaboratively for a common goal," he said.
Camus Energy secures $16m funding
Camus Energy, which provides advanced grid management technology, has secured $16 million in a Series A round, led by Park West Asset Management and joined by Congruent Ventures, Wave Capital and other investors, including an investor-owned utility. Camus will leverage the operating capital to expand its grid management software platform to meet growing demand from utilities across North America.
As local utilities look to save money and increase their use of clean energy by tapping into low-cost and low-carbon local resources, Camus' grid management platform provides connectivity between the utility's operations team, its grid-connected equipment and customer devices.