Utilities Recognized with Chartwell’s 2023 Outage Best Practices Awards
March 23, 2023
Duke Energy and Commonwealth Edison have taken the top honors in Chartwell’s Outage Best Practices Awards for 2023.
The awards recognize excellence among electric and gas utilities in the areas of Outage Operations and Outage Communications. This year’s winners showed a level of creativity and innovation that will inspire other utilities.
Award winners will discuss their initiatives during PowerUp: Chartwell’s Outage Conference, held June 13-15 in Phoenix. All Best Practice Award winners will also be recognized during an awards luncheon on June 14.
The conference features sessions focused on outage-related issues facing the utility industry, including navigating load shed, utilizing data to forecast outage risk, and the heightened need for resilience in utility infrastructure. A special rate is available to attendees who register by April 21, 2023.
Each year, the judges, who are all members of Chartwell’s research team, are charged with the difficult task of selecting the best entries. This year’s winners are:
- Duke Energy received the Gold Outage Operations Award for its Planned Outage Portal, which streamlines the process of planning a service outage while automating customer messaging as the date of outage approaches. Duke’s enterprise-wide application supports planned outage activities from the request through to the day of outage. All information is visible, and outbound messaging has been automated across multiple channels. The portal supports Duke’s operational processes while reducing manual entries from customers and team members across multiple applications.
- San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) earned the Silver Outage Operations Award for its new climate analytics platform known as the Wildfire Next Generation System (WiNGS). WiNGS assists in protecting communities by optimizing operational planning and prioritizing wildfire prevention efforts. The virtual tool combines visual representations of infrastructure assets and real-time data to model climate scenarios, predict outcomes, recommend actions, and plan an efficient response to wildfires and climate change.
- Avista earned the Bronze Outage Operations Award for transforming its Emergency Operating Plan into a Weather and Incident Forecasting Tool to improve operational efficiency and provide a better customer experience. The Weather and Incident Forecasting Tool leverages historical weather data, observed outages, infrastructure, and weather forecasts to create a model that will predict outages based on observed conditions and past events. During an extreme weather-related outage in November 2022, the forecasting tool allowed Avista to properly staff resources where they were most needed, resulting in faster and more efficient service restoration.
- ComEd earned the Gold Outage Communications Award for the development of its proactive communication strategy for customers and vendors before, during, and after severe weather events. Working to improve the customer experience during those times when they feel most vulnerable, ComEd wanted to ensure that customers are informed of all tools available to them. During 2022, various ComEd teams aligned on a coordinated activation plan across channels to provide a premier customer experience with proactive communications on outage resources, and to alert vendors to be ready to provide support during an upcoming storm. The effort resulted in significant download increases for Android and iOS mobile apps as well as increased enrollments for outage alerts and SMS/text.
- Hydro Ottawa received the Silver Outage Communications Award for the Rebuilding Trust Campaign, which addressed social sentiment stemming from the impact of an unexpected series of storms in 2022. In May 2022, Ottawa experienced a line of intense and widespread storms that produced hurricane-force winds, heavy rain and flash flooding that toppled transmission towers, damaged more than 500 poles, and downed miles of power lines. The Rebuilding Trust Campaign offered education around the damage assessment and restoration process, as well as what channels to go to for real-time updates. In so doing, the utility rebounded dramatically from flagging customer satisfaction and positioned itself as a trusted authority and key player in emergency preparedness.
- Exelon earned the Bronze Outage Communications Award for developing a new self-service hub for customers to use during outage events. With the support of data analysis, customer surveys, insights from internal stakeholders, and a comprehensive audit of the current state of content and functionality, Exelon created the outage-focused self-service hub with all its resources in a single place and a streamlined experience design. Since its launch in 2022, Exelon has seen a significant increase in self-service adoption and transactions.
If you have any questions about the awards or the upcoming conference, please email Keith Pierce, Research Manager.
Based in Atlanta, Chartwell, Inc. is a specialized information provider for the utility industry. We provide strategic research and facilitate issue-targeted forums for collaboration among industry peers. Our wide range of services ensures that our members have access to the best, most timely information available to make their business decisions. For more information, visit www.staging.chartwellinc.com.