Chartwell expands the Outage Conference and associated awards

By Suzanne Haggerty, Senior Manager of Customer Engagement –

Ah, November. Time for turkey, cranberry sauce, college football and arctic cold fronts.

It’s not exactly the most relaxing prelude to the complexities of December, is it?

As you’re shoveling snow, arguing with your neighbors about the appropriate date range for displaying holiday decor and — oh yes — finalizing your year-end budget details for work, please also start sketching out plans for your 2020 Outage Communications and Outage Restoration Awards entries.

The awards will be distributed at Chartwell’s Outage Conference, which will be held May 31-June 2 at Le Méridien in Denver.

Longtime attendees will note that it’s no longer called the Outage Communications Conference. Acting on feedback from attendees, Chartwell is expanding the conference to focus on high-priority issues related to outage restoration and preparedness in addition to communications.

Mobile technology, grid hardware and software, analytics, and social media are changing at a dizzying pace, and Chartwell’s Outage Conference will help utilities orient themselves in this changing landscape.

To reflect these changes in the focus of the conference, we’ve expanded our awards to include restoration efforts. Submissions are now open for Chartwell’s Best Practices Awards in Outage Communications and Outage Restoration.

The original awards of their kind for utilities, Chartwell’s Best Practices Awards recognize excellence and innovation among electric and gas utilities with respect to projects, programs and service initiatives.

Three utilities in each category will be awarded during the conference with gold, silver and bronze recognition. Winning utilities will be notified in February 2020. A representative from each utility that wins a gold, silver or bronze award agrees to present on the winning effort at the conference, providing an opportunity for other utility professionals to learn from the innovations of their peers. All winners and finalists will be contacted shortly after the announcement to participate in a case study on their efforts.

The entry deadline is Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2020.

Chartwell’s Best Practices Awards in Outage Communications recognize innovative communication initiatives designed to improve the customer experience before, during or after an outage event, regardless of size and scope. Entries may include, but are not limited to, efforts related to strategic planning, contact centers, web and mobile services, employee training, changes in messaging and streamlining of processes.

Chartwell’s Best Practices Awards in Outage Restoration recognize initiatives demonstrating innovation in outage restoration practices and procedures that improve the customer experience or operational efficiency during a storm restoration effort, regardless of size or scope. Entries may include, but are not limited to, efforts related to strategic planning, employee training, dispatch and coordination, improvements in damage assessment procedures or tools, and improvements in systems and technologies.

We urge you to schedule some time this month to review your utility’s notable achievements over the past couple of years and begin crafting your utility’s entries for consideration by Chartwell researchers. Although June is several months away, please highlight Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2020 on your calendar as the entry deadline. The entry forms can be downloaded from Chartwell’s website.

For more information about Chartwell’s Best Practices Awards, please contact Suzanne Haggerty, Chartwell’s Senior Manager of Customer Engagement. Don’t miss the chance to let 2020 be your utility’s year to shine!

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