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Is Your Utility Prepared Communications-wise for the Heat?

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Andy Gotlieb's picture
Editor of a specialty publication, former public relations practitioner Freelancer

I hold 34 years of experience in communications, mostly in journalism, with a decade in public relations, too.  The first 17 years were spent in print journalism, where I covered, at various...

  • Member since 2016
  • 988 items added with 488,978 views
  • May 17, 2022
  • 285 views

The meteorologist on my local TV news program breathlessly described last night how temperatures will rise past the 90-degree mark for the first time in 2022 this weekend.

My first thought: It’s going to be pretty uncomfortable for my son’s graduation, which is going to be outside.

My next thought: I have a topic for a blog post.

While your utility surely has a plan to deal with all that summer brings – thunderstorms with damaging winds, hurricanes, record-high electricity usage – is your public relations department ready, too.

Granted, a lot of utility public relations, especially when the weather is involved, can’t occur until something happens. But you should have a general idea about what you should do.

Ideally, you’ll put together and send out a news release talking about the preparations your utility is undertaking to deal with inclement weather. Reassure the public that you’ll be ready and describe lessons learned from past weather events.

Include contact numbers people can use if they need to report a problem. And offer tips for customers who lose power; most of these will be evergreen, including such things as keeping the refrigerator door close to hold in as much cold as possible. Seems basic, but people tend to forget things during high-stress periods.

Meantime, now’s a good time to make sure your media contact lists are updated. With newsrooms more decimated than ever, are you confident your releases are going to the right person – or a person who still works there?

When bad weather does hit, you likely have a well-established communications plan in place. So, how well does that plan work? You should always be looking to tweak your response to incorporate new or best practices.

Perhaps a trial run involving an imaginary weather event is in order. It’s never wrong to be overly prepared.

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