2022 Utility Outage Communications Conference

2022 Utility Outage Communications Conference

January 18-19, 2022 | Online :: Central Time

“I love the EUCI Outage Communication conference. It’s one I look forward to every year and always take away some great information to bring back to my company.” – Admin – Electric T&D Reliability, City Utilities of Springfield

“The fact that the conference concentrated on outage communication allowed my mind to tackle one aspect of my role to enhance customer satisfaction rather than float from topic to topic. Other conferences are often wide in variety, but this topic was relevant. I can go back with great ideas to enhance our outage communication efforts.” – Director of Communications, Tri-County Electric Cooperative

Outages have always been a fact of life for distribution utilities long before the global pandemic and will be when things are finally back to normal. During an outage, customers focus on two primary concerns: how long until power returns? and how will it impact my life?  Therefore, realistic, and reliable outage reports – estimated time of power restoration and status updates via multiple communication channels are expected from today’s utility. Since most customers prefer proactive communications during an outage, they are more responsive to outage communications than other types of content. Furthermore, the manner of outage communications can have a significant impact on customer satisfaction thus utilities across the North America continue to find new ways to improve outage communications.

Having an outage alert plan in place now is more important than ever as utilities continue to weather destructive storms, intense heat, wildfires, etc. causing massive power outages while still dealing with the pandemic. These catastrophic events are a reminder that extreme weather events of all kinds are on the rise globally and show no signs of waning. At EUCI’s 11th Outage Communications conference, utility and industry professionals will share their best practices in dealing with outages and how their organizations continue to transform their communication channels. This online conference brings together utility and industry experts who must interact with customers during difficult times.

Learning Outcomes

This conference will provide attendees an opportunity to:

  • Examine what top utility performers are doing to increase customer satisfaction by improving their outage communications
  • Review how to actively engage several key audiences throughout your service area
  • Explore how to reinvent the customer experience during an outage
  • Discuss how the use of technology can better communicate the outage process
  • Identify a plan of response in advance to prepare for emergency situations
  • Review the necessary steps to take and consider for effective planned outages
  • Discuss best practices for continued improvement to company restoration efforts
  • Recognize how to establish open lines of communication throughout the organization
  • Demonstrate how be proactive with notifications to improve customer engagement

 

Agenda

Tuesday, January 18, 2022 : Central Time

8:45 – 9:00 a.m.
Log In and Welcome

12:30 – 1:15 p.m.
Lunch Break

9:00 a.m. – 4:45 p.m.
Conference Timing

 

9:00 – 9:15 a.m. :: Opening Remarks

9:15 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. :: Morning Session

(includes a sponsored break)

Maximizing Customer Satisfaction through Outage Management and Effective Communications

Outages are going to happen but how well a utility communicates during the outage can have a significant impact on customer satisfaction. Both residential and commercial customers have increased satisfaction when utilities provide proactive information during and after an outage. This session will examine what top utility performers are doing to increase customer satisfaction by improving their outage communications.

Mark Spalinger, Director, Utilities Intelligence, J.D. Power

Community Engagement: Maximizing Diversity & Inclusiveness

How can your organization create a culture with a commitment to diversity and inclusiveness?  How and when should you move beyond informing customers to a higher level of involvement and collaboration? Hear how a Washington state utility has expanded its traditional outreach to actively engage several key audiences throughout its service area. This expanded audience engagement has proved to be quite valuable when dealing with customer outages and crisis communications.

Neil Neroutsos, Communications Manager, Chelan County Public Utility District

Preparing for Planned Outages at Georgia Power

Outage communication tools, both the outage map and customer notifications, have generally been timely and very helpful for customers.  The growth of outage communications and its impact on customer satisfaction is now well documented.  The next area for improvement in electric utility outage communications is on planned outage activity that utilities schedule for a variety of maintenance and support reasons, to ensure more reliable customer experience.  Now there isn’t a once-size fits all solution to address Planned Outage Communications.  Although a clear solution is not available, it doesn’t mean that Georgia Power isn’t working to meet the planned outage communications expectations of customers. 

Though an exhaustive series of investigations, several teams within Georgia Power have been working to study, experiment and investigate how to solve or improve planned outage communications to our customers.  As Georgia Power continues to work towards a solution, we’ll share some of the key elements that customers expect, and the feedback customers have through our limited experiments in communicating planned outage information.  From sharing pictures to pre-planned schedule notifications there are some great insights gained in sharing planned outage information with customers. As many utilities can attest, no vendor or utility currently has a solution to meet this need but sharing what works and what doesn’t may help uncover the best practices and solutions available.

John Zumbado, Senior Engineer, Georgia Power

Todd Clement, Product Manager – Notifi, KUBRA

Improving Messaging Around Global ETRs During Large Storms

Implementing tried and true best practices in restoration efforts will only enhance customer outage communications. Improving the messaging during major outage events caused by large storms enables timelier and more accurate estimated restoration times (ETR). While it is imperative to provide better outage communications, it is at least as important to gain efficiencies in improving restoration tactics.  In this presentation, the presenter will discuss how ComEd’s efficient storm restoration efforts and effective messaging have helped to keep the utility in a positive light when it comes to customer satisfaction surveys.

David Siedlecki, Manager of Digital Business, ComEd

12:30 – 1:15 p.m. :: Lunch Break

1:15 – 4:45 p.m. :: Afternoon Session

(includes a sponsored break)

Building a Cloud-based Solution for Secure Emergency Management

Utility emergency operations, be it a small, localized incident or a system-wide natural disaster, requires close collaboration and communication between emergency operations personnel from multiple organizations. Lives can be on the line. This session will outline the requirements to share grid data among emergency operations and provide insight into how secure grid integration can enhance the utility emergency management process.

Scott Thomsen, Director of Communications and Public Affairs, Ventura County Fire Department

Jody Nemcek, Emergency Preparedness Manager, Xcel Energy

Terry Nielsen, EVP, GridBright

Enhancing the Outage Communication Process at TEP

To enhance overall customer satisfaction, Tucson Electric Power Company looked to improve unscheduled outage communications during the most volatile and unpredictable time of the year (monsoon season).  TEP enhanced the general outage communication process, improved features of the outage map (outage journey maps for residential and business), streamlined life alert communications, and added its services to customers with extended outages. These efforts improve the company’s overall JD Power Score and demonstrated the value of investing in process improvement initiatives as a primary means of improving service.

John Bord, Manager of Customer Experience, Tucson Electric Power

Adding Intelligence to Outage Management with Integrated Cloud-Based Digital Platforms

Outages, be it energy or water, are some of the most annoying and disappointing incidents. But they are also they are also an opportunity for utilities to give a hassle-free experience to customers. The key is proactivity and empathy. In business, we know to always expect the unexpected, and as providers of essential services, utilities need to go the extra mile in ensuring transparent communications and unbridled service. When in an emergency, they need to tell their customers what to expect, that their service will continue, and that they are there to help.

In this presentation, learn strategies and approaches to outage management with the help of digital technologies to address more frequent and intense weather events, grid failures, and increased customer expectations. Attendees will learn about the role of digitization and technology to:

  • Manage real-time engagement with the customers
  • Integrate proactive multi-channel customer communication
  • Speed restoration and improve customer satisfaction
  • Enhance utility resilience and reliability

Treena Colby, Program Development Manager, Tacoma Public Utilities

Darren Brady, Chief Customer Officer, Smart Energy Water

Utility Wildfire Mitigation Plan for the Town of Estes Park

The allure of Colorado’s dense national forests and mountainous terrain also make it susceptible to factors that increase the risk of wildfires. In the fall of 2020, the scenic and historic Town of Estes Park was surrounded by the two largest fires in Colorado state history, the Cameron Peak and East Troublesome fires. While the fires grew ever larger and closer, Estes Power and Communications got a crash course in wildfire mitigation measures, interagency coordination, and communicating fire-related power outages. As a result of these growing wildfire threats, the Town of Estes Park has engaged in progressive, proactive wildfire mitigation efforts to prepare for these natural disasters. In this presentation hear about one small town’s municipal electric utility experiences and the mitigation plans that have been put in place including improved communications.

Sarah Clark, AMI Coordinator, Town of Estes Park

Winning Customer Loyalty Even During Severe Weather

The past year has been extreme and abnormal in so many ways and for utility companies, it’s been a test of the resilience and reliability of aging power grids and supporting infrastructure. The uptick in the quantity and severity of significant weather events is undoubtedly capturing the attention of the utilities industry. Consumers trust utility companies that effectively respond to their energy needs particularly when faced with a power outage. In this presentation, learn about some of the necessary step’s to win customer loyalty especially during extreme weather events.

Erick Ford, Executive Director, New Jersey Energy Coalition

Jay Malin, Managing Director, AGENT511

4:45 p.m. :: Day One Adjourns

 

Wednesday, January 19, 2022 : Central Time

8:45 – 9:00 a.m.
Log In

9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Conference Timing

 

9:00 – 9:15 a.m. :: Announcements/Day One Recap

9:15 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. :: Morning Session Day 2

(includes a sponsored break)

Best Practices from the Field for Estimated Time of Restoration (ETRs)

Unfortunately, in many instances, a system emergency occurs without any warning. Such occurrences deny a utility the opportunity to execute preparatory actions. However, a utility can develop a plan of response in preparation of emergency situations by planning in advance. Developing a plan helps minimize tension and frustration during a very stressful period. In this presentation, Blake Grizzle will share best practices that GreyStone Power has incorporated to be better prepared for outage events and the continued improvement of the company’s restoration events.

Blake Grizzle, Systems Engineer, GreyStone Power Corp

Proactive Notifications at Belize Electricity Limited

Outages are going to happen but how well a utility communicates before, during and after the outage can make a huge difference in customer satisfaction. Both residential and commercial customers appreciate timely, accurate and proactive information that help them understand the cause and the company’s efforts to restore power. In this session, learn how Belize Electricity is taking a proactive approach with notifying customers to increase satisfaction and improve customer engagement. 

Vonetta J. Burrell, Manager, Public Relations, Belize Electricity Limited

The Communications Efforts of ONE Gas During the 2021 Texas Winter Storm

As Texas faced record-low temperatures in February and snow and ice made roads impassable, the state’s electric grid operator lost control of the power supply, leaving millions without access to electricity for days. Texas largely relies on natural gas — especially during times of high demand for power and heat generation. ONE Gas knew it had to respond quickly and communicate with the public during this unprecedented storm. In this session, learn how the ONE Gas communications team handled this unexpected weather crisis in a timely and efficient manner.

Alex Schott, Director Customer Communications, ONE Gas

Utility Roundtable Discussion on Outage Communications

In this roundtable discussion, you will have the opportunity to talk with your peers about successes and challenges with outage communications and ask questions of the panelists. This session also gives you the opportunity to brainstorm new ideas that might work to develop new initiatives at your utility. Bring your questions, challenges and thinking caps to the table.

Moderator: Jon T. Brock, Senior Director, Americas, ISG
Panelists:
Neil Neroutsos, Communications Manager, Chelan County Public Utility District

Sarah Clark, AMI Coordinator, Town of Estes Park

David Siedlecki, Manager of Digital Business, ComEd

Alex Schott, Director Customer Communications, ONE Gas

12:00 p.m. :: Conference Adjourns

Speakers

  • John Bord, Manager of Customer Experience, Tucson Electric Power

  • Darren Brady, Chief Customer Officer, Smart Energy Water

  • Jon T. Brock, Senior Director, Americas, ISG

  • Vonetta J. Burrell, Manager, Public Relations, Belize Electricity Limited

  • Rob Busa, eChannels Manager, PECO

  • Sarah Clark, AMI Coordinator, Town of Estes Park

  • Todd Clement, Product Manager – Notifi, KUBRA

  • Treena Colby, Program Development Manager, Tacoma Public Utilities

  • Erick Ford, Executive Director, New Jersey Energy Coalition

  • Blake Grizzle, Systems Engineer, GreyStone Power Corp

  • Jay Malin, Managing Director, AGENT511

  • Jody Nemcek, Emergency Preparedness Manager, Xcel Energy

  • Neil Neroutsos, Communications Manager, Chelan County Public Utility District

  • Terry Nielsen, EVP, GridBright

  • Alex Schott, Director Customer Communications, ONE Gas

  • David Siedlecki, Manager of Digital Business, ComEd

  • Mark Spalinger, Director, Utilities Intelligence, J.D. Power

  • Scott Thomsen, Director of Communications and Public Affairs, Ventura County Fire Department

  • John Zumbado, Senior Engineer, Georgia Power

Online Delivery

We will be using Microsoft Teams to facilitate your participation in the upcoming event. You do not need to have an existing Teams account in order to participate in the broadcast – the course will play in your browser and you will have the option of using a microphone to speak with the room and ask questions, or type any questions in via the chat window and our on-site representative will relay your question to the instructor.

  • IMPORTANT NOTE: After November 30 you will not be able to join a Teams meeting using Internet Explorer 11. Microsoft recommends downloading and installing the Teams app if possible. You may also use the Edge browser or Chrome.
  • You will receive a meeting invitation will include a link to join the meeting.
  • Separate meeting invitations will be sent for the morning and afternoon sessions of the course.
    • You will need to join the appropriate meeting at the appropriate time.
  • If you are using a microphone, please ensure that it is muted until such time as you need to ask a question.
  • The remote meeting connection will be open approximately 30 minutes before the start of the course. We encourage you to connect as early as possible in case you experience any unforeseen problems.

Register

Please Note: This event is being conducted entirely online. All attendees will connect and attend from their computer, one connection per purchase. For details please see our FAQ

If you are unable to attend at the scheduled date and time, we make recordings available to all registrants for three business days after the event

REGISTER NOW FOR THIS EVENT:

2022 Utility Outage Communications Conference

January 18-19, 2022 | Online
Individual attendee(s) - $ 1195.00 each

Volume pricing also available

Individual attendee tickets can be mixed with ticket packs for complete flexibility

Pack of 5 attendees - $ 4,780.00 (20% discount)
Pack of 10 attendees - $ 8,365.00 (30% discount)
Pack of 20 attendees - $ 14,340.00 (40% discount)

Your registration may be transferred to a member of your organization up to 24 hours in advance of the event. Cancellations must be received on or before December 17, 2021 in order to be refunded and will be subject to a US $195.00 processing fee per registrant. No refunds will be made after this date. Cancellations received after this date will create a credit of the tuition (less processing fee) good toward any other EUCI event. This credit will be good for six months from the cancellation date. In the event of non-attendance, all registration fees will be forfeited. In case of conference cancellation, EUCIs liability is limited to refund of the event registration fee only. For more information regarding administrative policies, such as complaints and refunds, please contact our offices at 303-770-8800

CEUs

Credits

CEUs for Outage Communications

EUCI is accredited by the International Accreditors for Continuing Education and Training (IACET) and offers IACET CEUs for its learning events that comply with the ANSI/IACET Continuing Education and Training Standard. IACET is recognized internationally as a standard development organization and accrediting body that promotes quality of continuing education and training.

EUCI is authorized by IACET to offer 0.9 CEUs for this conference and 0.3 CEUs for the workshop.

Upon successful completion of this event, program participants interested in receiving CPE credits will receive a certificate of completion.

Course CPE Credits: 11.0
There is no prerequisite for this conference.
Program Level: Basic
Delivery Method: Group Internet Based
Advanced Preparation: None

CEUs for Outage CommunicationsEUCI is registered with the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) as a sponsor of continuing professional education on the National Registry of CPE Sponsors. State boards of accountancy have final authority on the acceptance of individual courses for CPE credit. Complaints regarding registered sponsors may be submitted to the National Registry of CPE Sponsors through its web site: www.nasbaregistry.org

 

 

Requirements for Successful Completion of Program

Participants must log in each day and be in attendance for the entirety of the conference to be eligible for continuing education credit.

Instructional Methods

Case Studies, Panel Discussions and PowerPoint presentations will be used in the program.

Who Should Attend

Individuals working in the following areas will benefit from attending this event:

  • Customer service
  • Internet services
  • E-business services
  • Social media
  • Web risk-management
  • Contact center management
  • Corporate communications
  • Web designers, interactive group
  • Business planning and information systems
  • Strategic planning and performance management

Sponsors

Outage communications sponsor Agent 511

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