Propane Education & Research Council Ends 2006 With Review of Consumer Education Campaign

The Council approved major initiatives in all mission areas for 2007

Washington, DC (December 15, 2006) — The Propane Education & Research Council (PERC) held its final meeting of 2006 on December 7-8 in Houston, receiving a year-end report on the propane industry’s consumer education activities along with updates on agriculture, engine fuel, research and development, and safety and training projects.

Consumer Education Advisory Committee Chairman Daryl McClendon, Ferrellgas (Hinsdale, IL), told the Council that the industry’s 2007 consumer education program will focus on increasing awareness and usage through nationwide advertising and outreach, targeting the homeowner and builder markets. The campaign will place a greater emphasis on reaching builders who often make energy decisions in new construction and home remodeling projects.

The Council also received a year-end report from Harris Interactive on the industry’s national advertising campaign, which said that propane is holding steady in terms of favorability in a difficult energy market. Since 2005, all energy industries have declined in terms of consumer confidence, and electricity and natural gas metrics have stabilized.

Harris Interactive also reported the brand recall of PROPANE Exceptional Energy® is at its highest level of recognition, and the perception of propane has also increased in terms of favorability, good value, trust, and safety. The campaign is driving consumers to the website, which has already exceeded its goal in 2006 by nearly 180 percent with 578,316 unique visitors. Also exceeding its goal was the Find a Propane Retailer tool on the site, which as of November 30 had recorded 199,659 searches this year.

“While propane favorability has improved, to keep the consumer education campaign on track to deliver greater value for the industry we’re expanding our research into homeowner and builder energy decision-making to better focus our efforts and enhance the effectiveness of our consumer education expenditures,” PERC President and CEO Roy Willis said.

The Council also approved a $2.2 million engine project recommended by the Engine Fuel Advisory Committee to develop a heavy-duty dedicated propane engine for use in fleet vehicles such as transit buses, delivery trucks, and school buses. Cummins Westport Inc. (CWI), the project partner, markets the world’s widest range of high-performance low-emissions engines for transit and commercial vehicles. CWI proposes to develop their ISL G engine for operation on propane with a rating of 250 hp / 660 lb-ft that will achieve EPA and CARB emissions certification at 0.2 g/bhp-hr NOx & 0.01 g/bhp-hr PM.

In other Council business:

•The Council will begin industry-wide communications to increase assessment collection in the coming year.
•The Council approved several new technology initiatives in 2007, including a Research and Development study (Docket 12116) of LPG deposit formation mechanisms and mitigation methods. Also, an Agriculture project (Docket 12203) was approved to develop and test a propane-fueled solution to control soil nematodes.
•The second and third CETP E-Learning DVDs are scheduled to be available to the industry in the first quarter of 2007.
The Council approved funding for the following grants:


Docket 12198 – 2007 Agriculture Communications, Propane Education & Research Council, $400,190
Docket 12197 – 2007 Agriculture Project Development, Oversight, and Advisory Committee Support, Propane Education & Research Council, $125,000
Docket 12202 – Determining Biologically Effective Propane Dose for Weed-Crop Flaming, University of Nebraska – Lincoln, $101,409
Docket 12203 – Develop and Test a Propane-Fueled Means to Control Soil Nematodes, Gas Technology Institute, $342,000


Consumer Education
Docket 12171 – 2007 Homeowner Advertising and Outreach Campaign, Propane Education & Research Council, $14,850,000
Docket 12172 – 2007 Consumer Education Partnership with States Program, Propane Education & Research Council, $2,800,000
Docket 12173 – 2007 Homebuilder Advertising and Outreach Program, Propane Education & Research Council, $1,575,000
Docket 12174 – 2007 Hearth, Patio & Barbeque EXPO, Propane Education & Research Council, $75,000
Docket 12175 – 2007 Manufactured Housing Initiative, Propane Education & Research Council, $305,000
Docket 12176 – 2007 Industry and Multi-Audience Communications Initiative, Propane Education & Research Council, $650,000
Docket 12177 – 2007 Rural Hospitality Marketing Program, Porter Novelli, $50,000
Docket 12178 – 2007 Media Monitoring Program, Propane Education & Research Council, $118,800
Docket 12179 – 2007 Measurement and Evaluation Program, Harris Interactive, $ 365,000
Docket 12180 – Consumer Education Advisory Committee, Propane Education & Research Council, $100,000 


Engine Fuel

Docket 12194 – Tug Technologies Ground Service Equipment Ford 4.2L Engine Development Program, Tug Technologies Corporation, $200,000
Docket 12195 – Performance Evaluation of Propane Injection for Diesel Engines, Mississippi State University, $75,000
Docket 12205 – Development, Demonstration, and Commercialization of a 0.2 gram NOx Propane Engine for Heavy-Duty Vehicles, Cummins Westport Inc (CWI), $2,200,000


Industry Programs

Docket 12188 – Industry Trade Shows/ Meetings Strategy 2007, Propane Education & Research Council, $201,000
Docket 12189 – Outreach to States Strategy 2007, Propane Education & Research Council, $61,750


Research and Development

Docket 12216 – Study of LPG Deposit Formation Mechanisms and Mitigation Methods, Southwest Research Institute, $701,500
Docket 12170 – 2007 Research and Development Oversight and Advisory Committee Support Docket, Propane Education & Research Council, $207,400
Docket 12186 – Provide Technical Communications Services to PERC's R&D Advisory Committee, Energetics Incorporated, $120,000
Docket 12199 – Climate Energy Propane Warm Air Micro-CHP System, Climate Energy, LLC, $25,000
Docket 12200 – Propane-Fueled Combined Heat and Power (CHP) Systems for Residential Applications: Phase I and II, Mississippi State University, $70,000
Docket 12201 – Feasibility Study of Propane Utilization by Transportation Agencies in Road Construction and Maintenance Applications, Iowa State University, $15,000


Safety & Training

Docket 12205 – Cabinet Heater Education Program, National Propane Gas Association, $165,000
Docket 12166 – 2007 STAC Oversight, Propane Education & Research Council, $89,000
Docket 12187 – 2007 Safe Grilling Campaign, Propane Education & Research Council, $200,000
Docket 12206 – S&T Online Resource – 2007 Hosting and Support, Propane Education & Research Council, $50,000


State Rebates

The staff approved 28 rebates from 16 states based on the replicated rebate process. The total amount approved was almost $1.8 million.  Approximately $5,000 in Consumer Education Partnership with States Program funds (matching dollars) were granted to one state.

The Council will next meet on a February 5, 2007 conference call