Burns & McDonnell's Stakeholder Management Services (SMS) Department created and executed a public involvement program for Northern Indiana Public Service Co. (NIPSCO) as part of the utility's Greentown-Reynolds Electric System Improvement Project, an approximately 70-mile electric transmission line from Greentown to Reynolds, Ind. The ongoing project is a strategic collaboration between NIPSCO and Pioneer Transmission (a joint venture of Duke Energy and American Electric Power) and is expected to be completed in 2018.
Stakeholder data management
Effective public involvement programs are dependent upon precise data. To build a comprehensive contact database for the projected impact area of the project, SMS procured county parcel data and linked that information to geospatial databases and satellite mapping systems. The parcel data was then used to communicate directly with land- and homeowners to convey project information and invite them to a series of open houses. The feedback gathered from the open houses was used to develop and select a final transmission route.
Once the route was final, SMS conveyed information about the final line to impacted and non-impacted landowners and managed inquiries through a specialized communication platform. This platform included a website, email responses and telephone hotline monitoring. The SMS team used its Stakeholder Data Management System (SDMS) — a proprietary Burns & McDonnell application that provides secure management of all project data including letters, emails, voicemail recordings, maps, legal documents, photos, and contact logs, as well as the capability to report on key performance indicators including inquiries received or open house attendance.
Another part of the public involvement plan included the creation of fact sheets, the design of the project logo and letterhead, the drafting of letters to landowners, and key stakeholder correspondence. In addition, SMS created a key stakeholder initiative to communicate with and obtain feedback from community leaders and elected officials. At a series of forums, key stakeholders learned about the project and provided the Greentown-Reynolds leadership team with specific feedback and guidance.