It is not even 10 am yet when three young men in blue jackets park their car at Kyrö marketplace in Finland Proper. It is a grey winter day, but the atmosphere is electrified when the men in blue jackets get out of the car – the locals get immediately interested. Barely a quarter of an hour goes by before the young men from Caruna are surrounded by a group of senior gentlemen. The progress of electricity network construction projects is a topic that interests many of them.
Since the beginning of March, Caruna's Resident Service has been travelling around Ostrobothnia and South-West Finland. It is an experiment where Resident Service representatives visit public spaces located near excavation areas, such as shops and events, as well as homes. The Resident Service provides information and answers questions, but also just has a friendly chat with people.
Resident Service representatives Jesse, 26, Carl-Emil, 21 and Julius, 19, answer the men's questions comprehensively and with a smile. The trio is already getting to know some of the Kyrö group, because Resident Service has already been answering local people's questions since the week before – sometimes at the marketplace, sometimes in homes during so-called home calls.
Topics range from electricity to everyday life
One of those interested is Heikki. He wants to have a word about the underground cabling work carried out near his holiday home. During the discussion, also other topics related to electricity and Heikki's daily life come up. Before he goes, he thanks the trio for the nice conversation and for taking consumers into consideration. Then he leaves with a smile on his face.
- People like to talk about electricity matters face to face. Some have already had personal experience with excavation works and have questions related to that. Some want to discuss electricity-related matters at a more general level, or just give feedback. Some want to chat about politics or how things are going, anything that happens to be on their mind. It's nice to meet people face to face and also lend an ear to those who feel like chatting, says Jesse, Resident Service line manager.
- The elderly do not necessarily use the internet very much, so through these conversations, they get information that they might not have received otherwise, says Carl-Emil, Resident Service representative.
The value of the experiment shows in door-to-door visits
When the day turns into afternoon in Kyrö, Resident Service goes on home visits, in other words, on their door-to-door round. The route is planned in advance to include households that we know are affected by the electricity network improvement programme.
- We were surprised by the positive and friendly response we receive during our door-to-door visits. We may be invited in for a coffee, we may discuss politics or get a tour of a customer's garage, says Carl-Emil.
Caruna's car arrives on Sanna's yard. Her family will be affected by excavation works in the future. She is pleasantly surprised by the arrival of Resident Service and welcomes the men into the house from the chilly porch.
- This is a nice surprise. When you speak with someone face to face, it's easier to bring up your thoughts, Sanna says.
Sanna is interested in matters relating to extending the yard. She has been concerned about how to fell trees safely without affecting electric cables. Jesse explains the situation and after a 15-minute conversation, also gives Sanna tips for saving in the electricity consumption of her big house. She is clearly delighted with the visit.
- We want to be useful through the conversations we have. Sometimes residents have been under the impression that they must tidy the excavation area afterwards themselves. After we tell the them how the process really goes, they feel positive about it, the Residence Service guys say happily.
Positive energy with no hurry
The Resident Service's last stop for the day is at a farmer, Jouni. A good while passes chatting with Jouni, since he has never before had the chance to speak about his concerns regarding cabling to Caruna. Now he feels encouraged to present his views about the realized excavation works, and he and Jesse go through the situation phase by phase. Jesse gives him some advice about how to proceed with the matter. The result is a discussion that takes nearly an hour and a delighted farmer.
We take the time to listen to what the residents have to say. We are in no hurry.
- The main thing is that we make residents more aware of matters relating to electricity and brighten up their day, Julius from Resident Service says in summary.
It is time to go home. The day in Kyrö has included dozens of different encounters with residents and hundreds of questions. However, the young men from the Resident Service do not seem tired – on the contrary. It seems the mobile power trio really knows how to create positive energy.