Utilities Can Use Emergencies to Build Customer Trust
- Sep 2, 2021 9:11 pm GMT
Its hurricane season and September is National Preparedness Month. Whether your customers are facing hurricanes, tornadoes, thunderstorms, floods or fires, how can you better reach, teach and prepare your customers?
This week Tropical Storm Ida is pummeling the east coast and causing power outages for millions. New York Power Authority and New York State Canal Corporation are taking proactive steps to prepare for the arrival of the storm. Governor Kathy Hochul has directed state agencies to prepare emergency response assets in anticipation of the six or more inches of rain expected to hit the area. The same storm left Entergy utility, in Mississippi and Louisiana, with 216 substations, 207 transmission lines and 2,000 plus miles of transmission lines in need of repair. Entergy.com explained that because of the extent of the damage and the rebuilding required, restoration and recovery will be difficult and customers should expect extended power outages for weeks. Bad news is rarely well received but the utility is keeping their customers informed during this emergency situation. On the homepage, Deanna Rodriguez, President and CEO of Entergy New Orleans and Phillip May, president and CEO of Entergy Louisiana posted an audio only vimeo file with up-to-date restoration efforts. Customers, like Valerie Vides of Carrollton-Riverbend, are annoyed because they pay a surcharge for storm preparedness but feel it is to no avail. She comments, “Paying almost $400 a month with storm surcharges added, we shouldn’t have to hold our breath every time a thunderstorm, let alone a hurricane, comes in that Entergy has done what’s needed to prepare properly to keep basic services operational.” Extended power outages create unlivable conditions. Without power, residents can’t pump gas from service stations to keep their generators running and sewage pumping stations can’t pull wastewater from homes.
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