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PERC approves 2024 campaigns, market programs

January 18, 2024 By    

The Propane Education & Research Council (PERC) approved the following funding requests during its November 2023 meeting in San Antonio:

  • $12,863,000 for the 2024 integrated marketing and communications plan. According to PERC, the project encompasses total programming for all markets, digital development, corporate communications and market support, and environmental thought leadership. It also supports the pillars of PERC’s strategic plan, designed to grow users and uses of propane and increase propane’s voice in the national energy conversation.

Erin Hatcher, senior vice president of communications and marketing at PERC, says this year’s plan will lean into messages about social equity, including the accessibility, affordability and clean-burning properties of propane.

“Our No. 1 goal has been to communicate the hard benefits that propane offers – the reliability, the affordability, environmental friendliness,” she says during a council meeting presentation. “We have not really delved into that [equity] piece of the messaging.”

  • $5,410,000 for the 2024 environmental campaign, an integrated messaging approach at the national and state levels to educate consumers about the environmental benefits of propane. This project provides funding to state entities for local media buys to support PERC’s environmental campaigns.

“The states can customize the messages and the creative a little bit to best adapt to their needs and requests in the state,” says PERC COO Bridget Kidd of a campaign that features mainly digital strategies.

  • $2,500,000 for the 2024 propane construction research and data collection program.

The program “brings in reliable and essential data around the impact of propane and propane technologies in the residential construction world,” says Gavin Hale, director of product development and power generation at PERC. “We get meaningful data that demonstrates the positive impact that propane has on the markets we serve and the environment within and around those markets.”

  • $1,495,000 for PERC’s 2024 partnership with industry organizations, including the National Propane Gas Association and GPA Midstream Association. The council is mandated to coordinate its activities with industry trade associations and others to maintain efficiencies and avoid duplication of its work.
  • $1,020,000 for 2024 workforce outreach and education, supporting propane workforce training, external audience training to allied markets and technical school curriculums.
  • $879,500 for 2024 industry engagement, covering outreach and meeting expenses as the council plans to promote and educate the industry on consumer education efforts, environmental messaging, market growth and commercialization efforts, and safety and training programs.
  • $800,000 for CETP modularization (basic plant operations), phase 1, supporting the ongoing modularization of existing CETP materials specific to the function of plants and related plant operations. PERC says the course will improve training materials for employees that operate bulk plants.
  • $776,700 for 2024 autogas market business development, providing support through activities that communicate the financial and environmental benefits of autogas and to encourage the adoption of autogas in fleet vehicles.
  • $650,000 (change order) for the 2023 propane construction incentive program, supporting data collection and providing additional funds for 2023 program applicants.
  • $650,000 for propane educational content creation and updating, including refresher training, manager training and funding for updates based on industry feedback and code changes.
  • $645,100 for the 2024 market data and research program, which supports two large outputs – a propane sales report and an annual propane forecast model – and features other data sets that inform the state of the industry and progress toward strategic goals.
  • $545,500 for 2024 residential market business development, with a focus on heat pump solutions and oil-to-propane conversions. Hale cites a greater need by PERC in 2024 to engage with builders and specifiers of homes and deepen its engagement in manufactured housing.
  • $400,000 for a Heat Pump Helper personal use program, which allows eligible propane marketers and their employees an opportunity to install and test the hydronic heating technology in their own homes before promoting the solution to their customers. The one-year program provides $8,000 to each participating state and requires the state to match the amount with its own rebate dollars. The funds would cover the purchase of up to 10 units, at $1,600 each, per state.
  • $345,380 for 2024 commercial market business development, providing support through meetings with engineers, architects, manufacturers, allied trade partners and commercial construction professionals; a continuing education program; and attendance at trade shows.
  • $313,500 for 2024 off-road market business development, engaging with partners and supporting new products with reporting and data collections.

“This is really where we become engaged in the displacing diesel activity for off-road applications,” says Hale, citing the council’s work with power generation OEMs and rental companies.

  • $230,095 for 2024 agriculture market business development, providing support through activities that convince farmers, ranchers and producers to choose propane and propane equipment for business and home operations.
  • $200,000 to support International Accreditors for Continuing Education and Training (IACET) accreditation. The project will establish a “train the trainer” qualification program to qualify related propane industry facilitators to instruct continuing education unit (CEU)-eligible classroom content.
  • $9,575 for a Heat Pump Helper rebate program orchestrated by the Virginia Propane Research & Education Foundation. Virginia became the first state to access national funding after PERC approved a new concept state rebate program and the personal use program (referenced above) for the hydronic heating technology.

The council will meet virtually on Feb. 13 and in person on April 24-25 in Hot Springs, Virginia.

About the Author:

Brian Richesson is the editor in chief of LP Gas Magazine. Contact him at brichesson@northcoastmedia.net or 216-706-3748.

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