Project: Turn off Indifference Turn on ResponsibilityCategory: CORPORATE SUSTAINABILITY&RESPONSABILITYSummaryEastern Lithuania suffers from a dominating public attitude of irresponsibility towardelectricity network matters. Theft levels of electricity and electricity network hardwareare high, individual human safety perception is low, and public willingness to performcivil duty related to the electricity infrastructure (i.e. clearing branches close toelectricity wires on private property) is nearly zero.The Client and the Agency developed a 10-year social responsibility programmeaimed at addressing and tackling the problem. The programme - “Operacija 2020” -strongly involves local communities through the partnership with the Association ofChiefs of Local Authorities of Lithuania and proposes to maintain a high mediaprofile.In the first year, the programme started the process of changing people’s attitudestoward the electricity infrastructure and their own duties, helping to achieve thetangible results documented below.SituationEach year, AB “Rytų skirstomieji tinklai“ (Eng. transl. “Eastern Distribution Networks” -further referred to by the acronym RST, renamed LESTO in 2011) suffers lossesamounting to millions of litas due to illegal consumption of electric energy, theft ofelectric network tools, parts and equipment, intentional breakage of networkequipment. Due to carelessness and people’s passivity toward crime in the network,irresponsible behaviour or lack of understanding regarding their own individual duties,thousands of households are periodically left without electricity for several daysannually. 900 network breakdowns caused by broken trees in private territories wererecorded in 2009. Because of this, nearly 111,000 consumers were left withoutelectric energy for 20 days. Unsafe and irresponsible digging caused more than13,000 residents to go without electricity for 4 days. Each year, 8 to 12 accidentsoccur when people are injured (sometimes fatally) due to careless behaviour nearnetwork equipment or forced entry into RST-protected areas.
In 2010, RST undertook an EU directive for rational energy consumption andcommitted to reduce annual network losses due to burglary, theft, vandalism andconsumer unwillingness to do their duties 20% by 2020. This ambitious goal has ledto not only improvements in the company’s infrastructure, but also to a widely-knowninitiative that prompts changes in people’s attitudes and behaviour – making peopleact like citizens who treat electricity and its network as their own property. RST andIntegrity PR created a long-term social responsibility programme “Turn offIndifference, Turn on Responsibility”.Objectives of the programme· To fight illegal consumption of electricity and intentional equipment damage· To protect people from injury and accidents related to electricity· To inform people about the possible dangers of electricity and to help them to dotheir own duties as electricity consumersGoals of the programme· To encourage people to report illegal electricity consumption and unsafe behaviourin the RST website and via confidence telephone lines· To organize town meetings with local authorities and media to promote discussionabout unsafe and illegal electricity consumption as well as responsible residentattitude and their duties on private property· To provide information - guides, posters, information visualisations, electronicbrochures - for Eastern Lithuanian residents about the project increasing familiaritywith safe, responsible electricity consumption· To organize problem-solving project competitions for local authorities andcommunitiesStakeholders of programme:· Residents of Eastern Lithuania (customers of RST)· Regional media· Local authorities· Local communities
The results of the programme were measured by opinion polls (Omnibus), mediamonitoring analysis, and internal research by RST on civic reporting (including e-mail,web, and telephone calls regarding illegal electricity consumption, possible burglary ofelectricity network equipment or vandalism).StrategyRST and Integrity PR created a long term social responsibility strategy and initiatedthe campaign “Operacija 2020” (Eng. transl. “Operation 2020”) the goal of which wasto educate people and to promote responsible consumption of electricity and safebehavior in risky territories. The Association of Chiefs of Local Authorities of Lithuaniawas invited to become a partner in the programme. The programme activitiesincluded media relations (meeting media and presenting related regional statistics,informing them about telephone numbers and e-mail addresses to be used forreporting important issues, delivering regular media releases), relations with localauthorities (personal meetings with chiefs of local communities and the communitiesthemselves to invite them to join the initiative and to participate in the projectcompetition), relations with local communities (public discussions and meetings), on-line communication (guides for safe and responsible consumption of electricity,visualizations on RST website), printed information about safe and responsibleenergy consumption (guides, posters) were voluntarily distributed in 274 localcommunities.ExecutionThe programme was implemented in three stages:· Public announcement. The programme launch in May, 2010 in Vilnius during anational media conference that was organized together with partners – TheAssociation of Chiefs of Local Authorities of Lithuania.· Direct communication to target audiences. The launch was followed up withroad-show meetings in 15 towns of Eastern Lithuania (July-October). During thesemeetings, RST representatives together with journalists and local communitiesdiscussed local security and responsibility issues. Posters and guides for safe andresponsible electricity consumption were provided. Local libraries received projectinformation. In July, the programme was supported by the project competition for localauthorities and communities – they were invited to provide their own ideas andactions plans that could help solve local issues related to safe and responsibleconsumption of electricity.· Closure of the first year by capped of with an awarding to local communities forbest ideas and contributions to programme. The first stage of the programme wasfinished in November. RST received 18 communities projects of which 6 wereawarded with financial support.
The programme was implemented according to the original plan. However,participation of partners required more encouragement than planned.Documented Results· During the campaign, 18 meetings with local media and communities wereorganized. In the meetings, RST started partnership with 99 local authorities.· During June–September, 5000 guides for safe and responsible electricityconsumption were distributed in 274 local communities.· RST received 18 original projects and 6 of them were awarded.· Awareness of the initiative in Eastern Lithuania reached 16% after 6 months of theeducational campaign in national and local media (Source: Omnibus/ Baltijos tyrimai). The initiative was widely discussed in national and regional media – 100 publicationsin newspapers, internet, R&TV.· Reporting on electricity theft increased by 80% in the first year of the programme.The monetary value recovered from reported electricity theft fully covered theexpenses of the programme in 2010.· On 28th April, 2011 LESTO (formerly and at the start of the project RST) wasawarded by the Ministry of Social Security and Labour, as well as the United NationsDevelopment Programme in Lithuania as the best debut for Social Company of theYear – for LESTO social initiatives “Operation 2020”, “As Much as Needed”, and“Electro Magic”.Name of the link URL http://www.lesto.lt/lt/socialine-Website of LESTO atsakomybe/socialines-atsakomybes- projektai/operacija-2020/951Website of The Asociation of Chiefs of http://www.seniunai.lt/lt/naujienos/?id=18244Local Authorities of LithuaniaWebsite of the Ministry of Social http://www.socmin.lt/index.php?-240869491Affairs and Labour Labour