Czech-based energy Group CEZ promotes the transition to electronic billing for all its 1.4 million end users in Romania by drawing inspiration from the experience of its visually impaired customers.
After the rollout of its electronic billing and payments service, CEZ Vanzare, the Group’s electricity supply company that provides power to seven counties in Romania, decided to campaign for a broader use of technology in one of the less developed countries in the European Union. Although Romania is an emerging leader in software services and high-speed internet access, the use of technology is far from widespread, especially in smaller towns and the rural areas.
To highlight the advantages of its electronic billing and payments service – which is free to use – CEZ polled its customer base and encountered the story of Vasile Tiucsan, a blind masseur working in Bala, a spa resort in Southwestern Romania. Mr. Tiucsan, who has been completely sightless for more than 14 years, is an enthusiastic adopter of technology who often says that using accessibility software makes him and his disabled co-workers feel like they have a new life. He uses a mix of software products, among them OCR (Optical Character Recognition) software and text-to-speech applications to pay his bills, recover information from printed materials, and manages the CEZ personal accounts of friends and co-workers who are also visually impaired.
As part of its “Turning Paper Into Energy” campaign, CEZ Vanzare is donating 1 RON (Romanian New Leu, the national currency) for each new subscription to its electronic billing service. In the first stage of the project, the money will be used to create the “Energy Library”. Romania’s first online library for the visually impaired. The long-term goal is to facilitate access to cultural products for the visually disabled. At the start, the project will digitize 300 audiobooks comprising titles from Romanian and world literature, which users will be able to borrow from their personal accounts. The new library will also run on mobile operating systems like Android and iOS. Also, CEZ employees will record in January 2016 the library’s very first audiobook.
The campaign is run in partnership with Romania’s National Association of the Visually Impaired and the Audio Library, the country’s first Android audiobook library, and is coordinated by Rogalski Damaschin Public Relations agency.
The way our visually impaired customers use the latest technologies was a true inspiration for us. The fact that they are able to make their life easier by using electronic billing should open new horizons for us all, and make us choose a simpler, faster, more natural way to do things
CEZ Romania Country Manager & Chairman of the Board.
The «Energy Library» is a platform that aims to bring visually impaired people into virtual libraries, museums or theaters, to prove that access to art should be as easy and natural as paying bills
Creative Leader, Rogalski Damaschin PR.
About 103,000 people with various eyesight impairments live in Romania, of whom 54,000 have severe disabilities. Around 17,100 visually impaired people live in the counties where CEZ operates.
CEZ Group is an established, integrated electricity conglomerate with operations in a number of countries in Central and Southeastern Europe and Turkey, headquartered in the Czech Republic. Its principal businesses encompass the generation, trading, and distribution of power and heat, as well as coal mining. The shares of the Group’s parent company, CEZ, a.s., are traded on the Prague and Warsaw Stock Exchanges. As of June 30, 2015, the Czech Republic remains the company’s largest shareholder.
In 2005, CEZ purchased the majority stake in Electrica Oltenia, the largest Romanian power distribution company. The group also owns Europe’s largest onshore wind park, located in Southeastern Romania.
Founded in 2007, Rogalski Damaschin Public Relations is a top communication agency in Romania offering consultancy and services to a wide range of businesses from banking & finance to pharma, energy & oil, FMCG, and non-profits. The agency’s mission is to create a positive social and economic impact, through ideas that inspire change for the better. The agency is structured into two specialty divisions: corporate PR, headed by Eliza Rogalski, Strategy Leader, and consumer PR, led by Alina Damaschin, Creative Leader.