Utilities recognized with Chartwell’s 2019 Best Practices Awards in Outage Communications

By Suzanne Haggerty, Industry Consultant –

Chartwell is excited to announce the winners of our 2019 Best Practices Awards in Outage Communications.

Southern California Edison, Oncor and Florida Power & Light were the winners in the large utility category, while Hydro Ottawa, JEA and Hawaiian Electric will be taking home the honors in the midsize utility category.

Until 2018, Chartwell distributed the Best Practices in Outage Communications Awards at EMACS – The Customer Experience Conference, but in 2018 we decided to recognize winners at our annual Outage Communications Conference, which continues to grow.

Gold Award winners will discuss their initiatives during the conference, set for June 6-7 in Chicago.

All Outage Communications Award winners and finalists will be recognized during an awards luncheon on June 6. The conference features multiple sessions focused on outage-related topics, including communications tools, channels and technologies; ETR performance and improvement; and the use of VOC and analytics to improve the customer journey during outages.

For the second year, Chartwell has segmented the Outage Communications Awards by utility size: utilities with more than 700,000 customers and utilities with fewer than 700,000 customers.

Chartwell will share information on the winning programs at the conference.

Large Utilities

  • Southern California Edison (SCE) will take home the Gold Outage Communications Award for its extensive outage communications improvement efforts, which helped the utility increase its business customer satisfaction and maintain its residential customer satisfaction even as its service territory faced massive wildfires and tens of thousands of maintenance and repair outages. SCE’s most innovative endeavors include its Customer Crew Connect app and the Outage Progress Tracker, which provides a low-effort way for customers to track their outages.
  • Oncor will take home the Silver Outage Communications Award for its Wiredown Unit On-Site Process Improvement Tool (WUPIT), a platform that allows customers to safely share digital images of damaged power lines. This technology has enabled the utility to more effectively respond during hazardous situations and helps dispatchers make better, faster decisions.
  • Florida Power & Light (FPL) earned the Bronze Outage Communications Award for its patented iNotify Processing Engine Logic, which enables the utility to deliver timely, proactive outage status updates to customers by integrating smart meter pinging and messaging, customer communications preferences and restoration status information from its OMS.
    Midsize Utilities 

  • Hydro Ottawa will receive the Gold Award in Outage Communications for its extensive crisis communications strategy, which enabled the company to jump into action during a four-day outage in 2018 and leverage social media and streaming video to keep customers and other stakeholders updated. Hydro Ottawa’s efforts resulted in high customer engagement and trust and improved online sentiment.
  • JEA earned the Silver Outage Communications Award for its multichannel communications effort to successfully educate customers on its Restoration 1-2-3 process, which goes into effect during a major storm event. The communications focused on JEA’s actions during each phase of the restoration process and the utility’s acknowledgement of the key role their customers play in efforts to efficiently restore power to as many customers as possible, in as short a time frame as possible, when massive outages occur due to a major storm.
  • Hawaiian Electric will take home the Bronze Outage Communications Award for the development, implementation and promotion of a mobile app and an online outage map/reporting tool. The company’s marketing efforts resulted in significant engagement with the new channels.
  • If you have any questions about the awards or the upcoming conference, please email Russ Henderson.

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