By Russ Henderson, Research Manager –
Hurricanes, floods, wildfires, polar vortices and even a “cyclone bomb” – the year since Chartwell’s last Outage Communications Conference was not a dull one. In fact, 2017 was the costliest year on record for weather-related disasters in the United States.
But massive weather events like these are only one of the challenges utilities face when it comes to effectively communicating with customers about power outages, which is just as important to customers as getting the lights back on quickly.
Mobile technology, in the hands of customers, stakeholders, employees and field technicians, as well as new grid hardware and software, present utilities with novel challenges and opportunities at a dizzying pace. Drones are taking on a larger role in both assessing damage and providing footage for high-quality videos posted on social media. Artificial intelligence, in the form of natural language processing, is creating new possibilities for automated communications through social media and intelligent personal assistants like Alexa.
Chartwell’s 12th annual Outage Communications Conference will help utilities orient themselves in this changing landscape and aid in forging the path ahead as the industry seeks to make customer communications ever more transparent, participatory, real-time and accurate.
No one in the utility industry knows more about outage communications than Chartwell. The agenda for our Outage Communications Conference – which will take place June 6-7 in New Orleans – features examples from leading utilities in all of the important areas of outage communications.
The conference will kick off with a panel discussion that will bring together utilities that experienced events in the past year that stretched the outer limits of even the most sophisticated communications and restoration tools, technologies and processes. Chartwell will also bring new information and insights to the conversation. Each speaker will share best practices and lessons learned for when these epic events come to your service territory.
In other sessions:
Panelists will discuss how their utilities are preparing to make their outage data discoverable for voice assistants such as Alexa and Google Home, which are enjoying widespread use in homes across North America. Speakers will discuss the necessity and challenges of staying up to date with new technology as it changes at an exponential rate.
A Texas utility will explain how it developed an outage prediction solution that uses a machine-learning model to combine historical weather data and local weather forecasts with historical grid data.
A midwestern utility will explore how, in the months after Puerto Rico was devastated by Hurricane Maria late last year, it leveraged social media to help promote the outage restoration effort through live video, social media hashtags, photo galleries, blog posts and more.
You can register for the conference here. I and the Chartwell staff look forward to seeing you in New Orleans!
Feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions.