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    Propane Education & Research Council Ends 2005 With Review of Consumer Education Campaign


    Washington, DC (December 16, 2005) — The Propane Education & Research Council held its final meeting of 2005 on December 8-9 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 consumer education program will focus in 2006 on maintaining consumer awareness of propane's benefits through nationwide advertising and outreach as well as enhancing business-to-business relationships, with a strong focus on reaching builders and contractors.

    Energy and Environmental Analysis, Inc., (Arlington, VA) provided an analysis of the cost of capital and rates of return from other check-off programs that indicated that the propane industry's consumer education programs should be considered highly successful if the programs are able to achieve a return on investment of at least 7 percent in upcoming years, while a return below 5 percent would raise significant concerns. In June, EEA reported the $23.1 million spent on consumer education activities between mid-2001 and mid-2003 resulted in a 17.5 percent annual return on investment. According to EEA, the 17.5 percent return represented an exceptional return on investment and should not be used to set future expectations.

    The Council also received a year-end report from Harris Interactive on the industry’s national advertising campaign, which said that the measurements of propane’s strategic message elements declined due in part to consumer attitudes towards rising energy costs. In the most recent measurements, consumers’ favorability rating of propane also fell along with other energy sources, including electricity and natural gas. Heating oil remained flat.

    “Rising energy costs have made it difficult for us to communicate with consumers over the past months, but we recognize that we must work even harder to find convincing and compelling ways to tell the story about propane’s good value,” PERC President and CEO Roy Willis said.

    Harris Interactive also reported the campaign recorded all-time high figures for the key awareness figures. The target audience’s recall of propane news and information hit 32 percent, while awareness of the industry’s advertising hit 73 percent. Also exceeding its goal this year was the Find a Propane Retailer tool on usepropane.com, which as of November 30 had recorded 155,974 searches, already surpassing the year-end goal of 144,343 searches. The advertising, which features the Energy Guys, will return to the airwaves in February.

    In other business, the Council voted to amend its Policies, Rules, and Procedures to officially create the Engine Fuel Advisory Committee. The Council also approved providing funding for six engine fuel projects in a new partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy that leveraged $100,000 in propane industry funding into more than $4.6 million in research projects.

    The Council approved funding for the following grants:


    Agriculture
    Docket 11871 – Michigan Atarus Stinger Agriculture Research Project, Michigan Propane Education & Research Council, $15,000
    Docket 11872 – Agriculture Project Development, Oversight, and Advisory, Propane Education & Research Council, $99,000
    Docket 11885 – 2006 Agriculture Communications Plan, Osborn & Barr Communications, $410,000
    Docket 11886 – Development of Technical Information for Growers for the Use of Propane for Steaming as an Alternative to Post-Emergence Herbicides, California Polytechnic State University, $30,500


    Consumer Education
    Docket 11874 – 2006 Homeowner Advertising and Outreach, Propane Education & Research Council, $16,125,000
    Docket 11875 – 2006 Consumer Education Partnership With States Program, Propane Education & Research Council, $3,335,000
    Docket 11876 – 2006 Homebuilder Advertising and Outreach, Propane Education & Research Council, $367,000
    Docket 11877 – Homebuilder Market Research, Propane Education & Research Council, $160,450
    Docket 11878 – 2006 Manufactured Housing Initiative, Propane Education & Research Council, $305,000
    Docket 11879 – 2006 Industry and Multi-Audience Communications, Propane Education & Research Council, $690,000
    Docket 11880 – Vehicle Branding Trade Show Outreach, Propane Education & Research Council, $25,150
    Docket 11881 – 2006 Consumer Education Measurement and Evaluation, Propane Education & Research Council, $300,000
    Docket 11882 – Media Monitoring and Reporting, Propane Education & Research Council, $41,000
    Docket 11883 – Consumer Education Advisory Committee, Propane Education & Research Council, $97,000


    Engine Fuel
    Docket 11904 – Propane Commercial Mowing Market Development Program, Propane Education & Research Council, $125,000


    Industry Programs
    Docket 11887 – 2006 Outreach to States Strategy, Propane Education & Research Council, $61,750
    Docket 11888 – 2006 Industry Trade Shows and Conventions, Propane Education & Research Council, $272,650
    Docket 11889 – PERA Price Determinations Support Activities, Propane Education & Research Council, $50,000


    Research and Development
    Docket 11814 – Solar Generator System with LP Gas Engine, Propane Education & Research Council, $324,660
    Docket 11865 – Research and Development Oversight and Advisory Committee Support, Propane Education & Research Council, $190,000
    Docket 11866 – Yanmar CHP Performance Testing and Field Evaluation, Propane Education & Research Council, $75,000
    Docket 11867 – Worldwide Technology Coordination 2006, Propane Education & Research Council, $100,000


    Safety and Training
    Docket 11868 – Consumer Safety Action Plan, Propane Education & Research Council, $71,662.50
    Docket 11869 – 2006 Safe Grilling Campaign, Propane Education & Research Council, $200,000
    Docket 11864 – CETP E-Learning Help Desk, Propane Education & Research Council, $43,415
    Docket 11850 – Safety & Training Advisory Committee Report, Propane Education & Research Council, $77,500
    Docket 11873 – Marketer Compliance Newsletter and Regulatory Updates, Propane Education & Research Council, $57,500
    Docket 11870 – Safety and Training Online Resource 2006 Hosting and Support, Propane Education & Research Council, $50,000
    Docket 11884 – 2006 NPGA/PERC CETP Management Contract, Propane Education & Research Council, $193,500


    Information Technology
    Docket 11903 – 2006 Information Technology Support, Propane Education & Research Council, $373,600
    Docket 11913 – Information Technology Assessment and Strategy Planning, Propane Education & Research Council, $135,000


    State Rebates
    The Council approved three new concept rebates from three states, totaling more than $136,000. Of that amount, more than $88,000 in Consumer Education with States Program funds (matching dollars) were granted to one state.

    The Council will next meeting on a February 16, 2006, conference call.