2017 Outage Communications
September 27-28, 2017
Denver, CO

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Overview

Close to 90% of utilities in North America face an emergency outage event at least once per year and nearly 1 in 4 utilities deal with as many as five outages per year. While the primary focus for utilities is restoration of power during an outage, in the minds of many customers, communication is a big part of the restoration process. During outages customers are looking for information everywhere – in the form of emails, text messages, social media, and even non-digital communications. Customers want an estimate as to when their power will be back, knowledge of affected areas, and even tips on what to do and expect.

At EUCI’s 7th Outage Communications conference, utility and industry professionals will share their best practices in dealing with outages and how their organizations continue to transform their communications landscape. Conference attendees will enjoy quality networking with industry peers and will take away great ideas for refining and administering their outage communications programs.  

Learning Outcomes

This conference will provide attendees an opportunity to:

  • Critique the value of investing in process improvement initiatives as a primary means of improving customer service with outage communications
  • Discuss how to automatically enroll customers for proactive outage push alerts
  • Discuss how to build quality relationships with regional emergency responders
  • Explain how to use the power of video to re-energize your brand during outages
  • Recognize and implement the necessary components of a good customer experience
  • Evaluate how to get the most out of an utility’s social media efforts
  • Identify lessons learned from case studies of storm communications to improve day-to-day communications
  • Recognize how to establish open lines of communication throughout the organization

Credits

AP_Logo

EUCI has been accredited as an Authorized Provider by the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET).  In obtaining this accreditation, EUCI has demonstrated that it  complies with the ANSI/IACET Standard which is recognized internationally as a standard of good practice. As a result of their Authorized Provider status, EUCI is authorized to offer IACET CEUs for its programs that qualify under the ANSI/IACET Standard.

EUCI is authorized by IACET to offer 1.0 CEUs for this conference and 0.3 CEUs for the workshop.

 

Requirements for Successful Completion of Program

Participants must sign in/out 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.

Agenda

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

12:30 – 1:00 p.m. :: Registration


1:00 – 1:15 p.m. :: Introduction and Overview


1:15 – 2:00 p.m. :: Leading the Way at Xcel

Xcel Energy has quickly ramped up its outage communications capabilities in recent years, and is fast emerging as a leader in this critical area. Last year, the company was the first in the industry to announce its intention to automatically enroll customers for proactive outage push alerts after the Federal Communications Commission’s decision in August regarding the Telephone Consumer Protection Act. That decision explicitly informed utility companies that they may enroll customers to receive outage alerts, so long as the customer has provided the utility with their contact information. Xcel Energy has made a number of other efforts this year around people, process and technology to drive a better all-around experience. Megan Scheller will provide an update on all of Xcel’s efforts in recent months to improve outage communications.

Megan Scheller, Customer Experience Manager, Xcel Energy    


2:00 – 2:45 p.m. :: Enhancing the Outage Communication Process at TEP

In an effort 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).  Over a period of six months, TEP enhanced the general outage communication process, improved features of the outage map, streamlined life alert communications, and added its services to customers with extended outages.  With an overall JD Power Score of 803 in Customer Satisfaction, TEP’s efforts to improve outage communication processes have demonstrated the value of investing in process improvement initiatives as a primary means of improving service.

Ed Jones, Manager, Customer Automation, Analytics, and Digital Solutions, Tucson Electric Power Co. (TEP)

2:45 – 3:15 p.m. :: Networking Break


3:15 – 4:00 p.m. :: Breaking Down Silos: Integrating Utilities into Local Emergency Response

Colorado Springs Utilities has created an emergency management culture that integrates with local, regional, and state emergency management and public safety. Through networking and collaboration, Colorado Springs Utilities has formed strong relationships with the local and regional emergency responders for daily operations, along with emergency managers in the area to create valuable relationships before disaster strikes. This presentation will provide examples of how to build those relationships, and how those relationships provide mutual benefits during small and large incidents.

Presentation Objectives:

  • Identify opportunities to interact with local public safety and emergency management staff
  • Describe the value of establishing working relationships before they are needed
  • Develop plans to interact with your local responders

Ken Hughlett, Senior Emergency Management Specialist, Colorado Springs Utilities


4:00 – 5:00 p.m. :: Improving How Electric Operations and Communications Work Together

When the power goes out, an electric utility’s customers aren’t happy about it. Customers want their power back as soon as possible, and they expect their experience with the local electric utility to be consistent with other types of services present in their everyday lives. In this presentation, Dominion Energy will discuss the various platforms used to communicate with customers, particularly during power outages, and how they have improved on many of them to enhance their customers’ experience. The presentation will also focus on how effective collaboration with operations and communications is critical to establishing real-time, consistent information that customers have come to expect. The presentation will also discuss lessons learned and how to remove the wall between operations and communications.

Janell Hancock, Senior Communications Specialist, Dominion Energy

Crystal Bright, EPC Critical Services Communications Specialist, Dominion Energy

5:00 – 6:00 p.m. :: Networking Reception


Thursday, September 28, 2017

8:00 – 8:30 a.m. :: Continental Breakfast


8:30 – 9:15 a.m. :: Leveraging Video Technologies to Enhance the Customer Experience when Lights Go Out

If pictures are worth a thousand words, videos are worth 10,000 views. Thanks to video integration across nearly all social media platforms, there’s no denying that video traffic is growing globally. Hydro Ottawa uses video to educate and connect customers to its business, employees and events in a dynamic way. The utility shares its best practices on how to stand out on social channels, its visual storytelling strategies, and how to use the power of video to re-energize your brand during outages. In this presentation, learn the importance of extending reach beyond your followers and using public sentiment to strategize a new path forward for your utility.

Daniel Seguin, Manager, Media & Public Affairs, Hydro Ottawa


9: 15 – 10:00 a.m. :: Dear Neighbor Communications Enhance Customer Relationships at SCE

In the past two years, SCE greatly expanded its customer communications, including the extension of outage schools to both business customers and residential customers as well as the launch of “Dear Neighbor” communications. SCE’s “Dear Neighbor” letters proactively notify customers who may experience increased traffic, lane or street closures, noise, or other inconveniences while SCE is working on large construction projects. This communication may be in the form of a letter, email, or through targeted social media communications, either from SCE directly or through communication channels coordinated with affected cities. In 2015, SCE sent nearly 52,000 Dear Neighbor letters to customers. SCE expanded the program in 2016. Learn how this outreach is transforming SCE’s outreach to residential customers.

Tomaso Giannelli, Senior Project Manager, Outage Communications, Southern California Edison

10:00 – 10:30 a.m. :: Networking Break


10:30 – 11:15 a.m. :: Mutual Assistance Efforts

Restoring power after a major storm is a complex task, and a speedy restoration requires significant logistical expertise, along with skilled line workers and specialized equipment. Utilities affected by significant outages often need mutual assistance from companies across the country to help speed restoration. Mutual assistance is an essential part of the power industry’s service restoration process and contingency planning. In this session, Brian Lindsey will focus on Alabama Powers philosophy of transferring control of portions of their distribution system to mutual assistance teams and he will share operations best practices that they have adopted resulting in improved restoration efforts.

Brian Lindsay, Distribution Technology Solutions Manager, Alabama Power


11:15 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. :: How Customer Phone Data Impacts the Customer Experience, Operational Costs and TCPA Risks

At the heart of customer communication is identity — if you don’t get it right, everything else will be wrong.  How are organizations able to communicate with their customers when consumer data are constantly changing?  Changing customer data can negatively impact a utility’s bottom line, the customer experience and create challenging TCPA risks. Hear how City Utilities is turning TCPA lemons into enterprise lemonade. They’ll discuss lessons learned during their TCPA risk mitigation journey and how customer phone number management can positively impact the entire customer communication experience. Additionally, City Utilities will share highlights from a detailed customer data analysis they conducted with Neustar. This analysis highlights the current state of their customer phone data and how much it changed within various demographic groups over a three-month period.

Nathan Bruns, Administrator of Electric T&D Reliability, City Utilities of Springfield

Chris Clark, Director – Fraud, Risk and Compliance, Neustar

12:00 – 1:00 p.m. :: Group Luncheon


1:00 – 1:45 p.m. :: Social Media for Utilities V 2.0: Enhancing the Customer Experience During Outages

Since 2015, Seattle City Light has been developing the UtiliSocial platform to improve the customer experience during outages. UtiliSocial uses GIS data, to monitor social posts in surrounding utilities service areas to better prepare for potential outages. This social monitoring worked extremely well in 2015 when a big storm was approaching and the utility was able to give the crews a 30 minute head start. As a result of their efforts, Seattle City Light was one of only six utilities where customers who experienced an outage were more satisfied than those who didn’t. In this session, learn how Seattle City Light is finding hidden social media conversations to better prepare their crews and customers for outages.

Scott Thomsen Senior Strategic Advisor Communications, Seattle City Light


1:45 – 2:30 p.m. :: Developing Strategic Outage Communications: Best Practices and Lessons Learned

Establishing more strategic customer outage communications and enhancing explicit alerts requires a deliberate and tactical approach. From field ops to customer satisfaction, from IT to customer service, from regulatory to communications, all departments need to be involved and on the same page. This presentation will serve as a platform to educate and share how uniting multiple departments behind a company-wide initiative to design proactive, timely outage alerts and deploy a comprehensive outage communications strategy improves customer satisfaction. Topics to be covered in this session include:

  • Lessons learned and the best practices deployed along the way
  • Understanding best practices for managing a highly entangled internal outage process
  • Hear about “quick wins” that realize results during a long-term engagement

Melanie Wemple, Managing Director, Strategy & Optimization Consulting, E Source

2:30 – 3:00 p.m. :: Networking Break


3:00 – 3:45 p.m. :: Consolidating Outage Communications

Today, utilities recognize that they need to break down information silos in order to improve customer experience and access to outage information. In response, many companies are looking for ways to reduce barriers to use by not only expanding channels, but also making resources easier to access. In this session, discover how Colorado Springs Utilities (CSU) has streamlined its outage communications by providing a fully integrated outage map that includes its electric, water, and gas services into one map that works across platforms. Learn about how this project was accomplished as well as what other additions CSU has planned for the future.

Mathew Wells, Distribution Operations Support, Colorado Springs Utilities

Kelvin Brown, Client Relationship Manager, KUBRA


3:45 – 4:45 p.m. :: Panel Discussion

Throughout North America, many utilities are overhauling their outage communications programs as a result of customers’ expectations for outage information to be two-way, accurate and real time. This roundtable discussion and open forum will discuss successes and challenges common to utilities as they develop and implement their outage communications strategies. It gives attendees the opportunity to ask questions and brainstorm new ideas to continue to improve outage communications at your utility.

Moderator:

Jay Malin, Managing Director, AGENT511

Panelists:

Tomaso Giannelli, Senior Project Manager, Outage Communications, Southern California Edison

Crystal Bright, EPC Critical Services Communications Specialist, Dominion Energy

Daniel Seguin, Manager, Media & Public Affairs, Hydro Ottawa

5:00 p.m. Conference Adjourns

Workshop

How Dynamic New Approaches in Outage Communications are Transforming the Customer Experience

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

8:00 – 8:30 a.m. :: Registration and Continental Breakfast

8:30 – 11:30 a.m. :: Workshop Timing

Overview

When an outage happens, your utility knows exactly how to react to restore power. As part of the utility team, you’re communicating with people you know and trust, you understand the resolution process, and you are certain that the resolution process will work. That’s your experience, and it’s a good one. The question is: Are your customers having the same experience you are?

When outages occur, it’s crucial that your customers see your utility as proactive and responsive. How you approach your communications, including when and how you begin that dialogue to build trust, can make the difference in winning loyal customer advocates for your utility. At this workshop, attendees will learn how to intentionally design and actively manage all aspects of outage communications to create a powerful customer journey for your customer community. Success lies in the customer journey; find out how to take the first step in building a transformative outage customer experience.

Learning Outcomes

  • Discuss why the role of outage communications is critical to the overall customer life cycle
  • Explain how to leverage intentional design and testing of your outage experience
  • Explain how to optimize your communication channels and touchpoints before, during and after an outage
  • Discuss which communications best practices and analytics are right for specific contact channel and touchpoint communications
  • Discuss which measurement methods for effective Outage communications work best
  • Demonstrate how case studies illustrate what’s possible

Agenda

  • Customer Experience Management
  • Discussion of Customer Life Cycle Development and the importance of delivering an optimal Outage Experience in order to enhance the overall customer experience
  • Journey-mapping Activity
    • Journey-mapping of current Outage Experience and Communication Touch points
    • Identify Key Moments of Truth
    • Identify Customer Pain Points
  • Group discussion related to Outage Communication Improvements
  • Case Studies for Outage Communication Best Practices
    • Review of Communication Channels and messages
    • Analytics related to Outage Communications
  • Developing the business case for Outage Communications Improvement
  • Summary and wrap

Instructors

Maureen Russolo, Director of Strategic Business Development, Questline

Ms. Russolo discovers, develops and delivers strategic solutions that achieve energy utilities’ goals for customer experience, customer engagement and digital communication. An energy utilities industry veteran for more than 20 years, she also has expertise in customer journey-mapping, change management, and contact center and self-service enhancements. Maureen has held senior roles in the energy and insurance industries and consulting practices. She’s worked with dozens of companies on organizational assessments, strategic planning and customer experience optimization. Maureen is a founding member of the Customer Experience Professionals Association, a certified customer experience professional and a certified change management professional.

Katie Ruiz, Director of Business Development, Questline

Ms. Ruiz leverages her background in utility marketing, customer experience and demand-side management to help energy utilities understand, identify and implement strategies that achieve their engagement goals. Her diverse experience working with utility companies, trade allies and contractors, and end-use customers gives her a unique perspective and true understanding of both utility and customer needs. Katie believes data-driven approaches generate the most effective customer service and marketing solutions. Katie also has experience in economic development, supporting local governments in the identification and implementation of energy-related projects and seminars for utility customers and trade allies.

Speakers

Crystal Bright, EPC Critical Services Communications Specialist, Dominion Energy

Kelvin Brown, Client Relationship Manager, KUBRA

Nathan Bruns, Administrator of Electric T&D Reliability, City Utilities of Springfield

Chris Clark, Director – Fraud, Risk and Compliance, Neustar

Tomaso Giannelli, Senior Project Manager, Outage Communications, Southern California Edison

Rob Gilpin, Regional Sales Director, KUBRA

Janell Hancock, Senior Communications Specialist, Dominion Energy

Ken Hughlett, Senior Emergency Management Specialist, Colorado Springs Utilities

Ed Jones, Manager, Customer Automation, Analytics, and Digital Solutions, Tucson Electric Power Co. (TEP)

Brian Lindsay, Distribution Technology Solutions Manager, Alabama Power

Jay Malin, Managing Director, AGENT511

Megan Scheller, Customer Experience Manager, Xcel Energy

Daniel Seguin, Manager, Media & Public Affairs, Hydro Ottawa

Scott Thomsen Senior Strategic Advisor Communications, Seattle City Light

Melanie Wemple, Managing Director, Strategy & Optimization Consulting, E Source

Location

The Curtis Hotel
1405 Curtis Street
Denver, CO 80202

To reserve your room, please call 1-303-571-0300 or book online here.
Please indicate that you are with the EUCI group to receive the group rate.

Room Rate:

The room rate is $239.00 single or double plus applicable taxes.

Room Block Dates:

A room block has been reserved for the nights of September 26 – 27, 2017.

Rate Available Until:

Make your reservations prior to September 5, 2017. There are a limited number of rooms available at the conference rate. Please make your reservations early.

Register

Event Standard RateAttendees
Proceedings package US $ 395.00
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