Utilities Navigate Priorities for ETR Messaging

Estimated Times of Restoration (ETRs) are a critical tool for utilities in communicating with their customers in the event of a power outage. Whether the outage is planned or sudden, localized or statewide, customers want timely information regarding when they can expect to resume their regular activities.

An estimate of when power will be restored is more important to customers than other information a utility might provide during a service interruption, including crew status and outage cause. Delivering ETRs that meet customers’ increasingly high expectations regarding accuracy and timeliness, however, poses a continual challenge for utilities.

For this report, Chartwell interviewed a number of industry experts to get a clearer understanding of the current state of ETR messaging across the industry.

 Key Takeaways

  • Customer expectations of their utilities, which have been shifting for years, have risen steeply over the past two years, due in part to the number of customers working or learning at home.
  • Most customers prefer to receive ETRs via text, but utilities must accommodate the preferences of those who would rather use a different channel.
  • Many utilities have found that changing ETRs, even when they are based on new and better information, can erode confidence in the utility.
  • Desire for empathy messaging is on the rise, to show compassion for customers’ inconvenience during sustained outages and retain goodwill for the utilities.

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