Utilities are often criticized for not connecting deeply enough with their customers. In a world where choice is becoming more important -- turning ratepayers into dynamic consumers -- power companies need to offer a wider range of services and communications outlets.

One way to better connect: Use more consumer-friendly language.

According to a report in the Huffington Post this week, the Edison Electric Institute recently hired a marketing expert to help member companies hone their messaging. 

“They view us a monopoly, no incentives to serve the customers. They view us as stuck in the past in terms of technology," said PR guru Michael Maslansky, who was hired to frame industry messaging.

Is this just a public relations ploy to improve the image of utilities? Or is it a serious attempt to engage with customers? We'll discuss at the top of this week's show.

In our second segment, we'll talk about the Energy Information Administration's new report defending its forecasting and data gathering. Finally, we'll discuss a new analysis from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory showing that America has the technical potential to get 39 percent of its electricity from rooftop solar. (See NREL's data here.)

Editor's note: in the podcast, we say that Michael Maslansky gave the presentation at EEI's board meeting. In fact, it was Brian Wolff, EEI’s executive vice president for public policy and external affairs, presenting the findings.

The Energy Gang is produced by Greentechmedia.com. The show features weekly discussions between energy futurist Jigar Shah, energy policy expert Katherine Hamilton and Greentech Media Editor Stephen Lacey.