Best Practices Awards in Outage Communications and Outage Restoration

By Suzanne Haggerty, Senior Management of Customer Engagement –

Chartwell is excited to announce the winners of our 2020 Best Practices Awards in Outage Communications and Outage Restoration.

Con Edison, Ameren Missouri and Snohomish County PUD were the winners in the Outage Communications category, while Hydro One, Southern California Edison and Hydro-Québec will be taking home the honors in the Outage Restoration category.

Winners and finalists will share information on their winning efforts at PowerUp: Chartwell’s Outage Conference on June 1 and 2 in Denver.

Longtime Outage Communication Conference attendees will note the event’s name change. 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. To coincide with the change in conference focus, we expanded our annual awards to include outage restoration in addition to communications.

All award winners and finalists will be recognized during an awards luncheon on June 1. 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.

Chartwell will be publishing case studies on all six winning entries after the conference, available to Chartwell Insight Center members.

2020 winners and finalists include:

Outage Communications

  • Con Edison will take home the Gold Outage Communications Award for its Customer & Outage Analytics Dashboard, developed by the utility’s journey-mapping team. The dashboard turns real-time customer text communication data into a tool Con Edison can use to monitor and respond to customer communications during an outage event, providing an improved outage experience and allowing the utility to adjust communications mid-event.
  • Ameren Missouri will take home the Silver Outage Communications Award for its Outage Communication Hub, which operates as a data communications layer that works in tandem with the utility’s Advanced Distribution Management System (ADMS) to provide centralized management, configuration and processing of all of Ameren’s electric outage-related messaging to customers. By off-loading all responsibility for customer communications to the hub, the ADMS is now better optimized to focus solely on faster outage analysis and restoration management.
  • Snohomish County PUD earned the Bronze Outage Communications Award for its Automated ETR and Status Project, an in-house effort to fill information gaps in the utility’s outage map and increase both external and internal customer satisfaction during outages. The utility moved from a disjointed process utilizing analog tools and ad-hoc information to a unified strategy leveraging newer digital platforms that were already in-house and available.

Outage Restoration

    • Hydro One will receive the Gold Award in Outage Restoration for its Storm Restoration Improvement Program, a cross-departmental effort that has measurably improved both service reliability and customer satisfaction. Program elements such as a storm damage prediction tool, accelerated damage assessment capabilities and restructured storm restoration organization/communication protocols enabled the utility to target required restoration resources more efficiently and handle emergency outage events with better agility.
    • Southern California Edison (SCE) earned the Silver Outage Restoration Award for its wildfire mitigation plan, a strategy to reduce the risk of electrical equipment igniting wildfires that goes beyond standard industry practices to address new climate conditions. The effort included hardening the grid to reduce potential fire ignitions; bolstering situational awareness capabilities; and expanding operational practices such as enhanced overhead inspections, vegetation management, de-energization of power lines and emergency response protocols.
    • Hydro-Québec will take home the Bronze Outage Restoration Award for its Service Restoration Emergency Plan, designed to restore service for 95% of affected customers as soon as possible. Key practices that allow for quick and effective service restoration include the establishment of regional emergency centers for rapid targeted deployment; a detailed and complete service restoration emergency plan; and active monitoring of weather conditions and grid status.

If you have any questions about the awards or the upcoming conference, please email Suzanne Haggerty.

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