Utilities strategize to offer effective storm ETRs

By Russ Henderson, Senior Research Manager – 

Large-scale outage events present no shortage of challenges for utilities. Among the chief difficulties is to effectively provide customers with estimated times of restoration (ETRs). 

My latest report leverages interviews with leading utility experts to shed light on common strategies and best practices regarding major-event ETRs. Members can download the report here. If you are not a member and would like access, please contact us.

During major events, the system-generated ETRs provided to customers on blue-sky days are replaced by estimates determined by human-led processes. For this reason, major-event ETRs entail establishing clear business processes for atypical operations, including methods for developing global and area-specific estimates, long before such events strike. 

Just as important as providing accurate storm ETRs is providing timely and consistent communications that make customers feel like they are being kept informed.

Effective storm ETRs require a clear process and system of accountability. The report provides some examples of how leading utilities handle this.

The report also explains who in the organization owns the storm ETR process while automated estimates are suppressed, and how global and area-specific ETRs are usually calculated. 

Major-event ETRs are a frequent topic of discussion on Chartwell’s Outage Communications Leadership Council, a utility-only peer group focused on outage communications. The group was launched in 2007 and now has more than 50 utility members. If you are interested in becoming a member, please contact us.