By - Jon Brown

2018 Utility Outage Communications
September 10-11, 2018 | Chicago, IL

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Overview

The utilities industry is facing a multitude of challenges: a global rise in storm intensity, a dramatic increase in customer expectations and a significant surge in technology advancements. Customer expectations continue to increase exponentially due to hyper-competitive industries, new and innovative technologies and the on-demand economy concept from other sectors. During outages customers are looking for information everywhere – in the form of emails, text messages, social media, and even non-digital communications. Proactively managing communications with utility customers is critically important during a power outage.

Utilities continue to weather destructive storms causing massive power outages. Last year’s hurricane season was brutal, with Harvey, Irma, Maria and Nate causing widespread, catastrophic devastation and leaving millions without power. These hurricanes are a reminder that extreme weather events of all kinds are on the rise globally and show no signs of waning. This past winter, the Northeast was clobbered with three nor’easters in less than two weeks causing massive outages in multiple states.

At EUCI’s 8th 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. Attendees will leave with valuable takeaways to help them keep customers informed when the next planned or unplanned outage hits.

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Learning Outcomes

This conference will provide attendees an opportunity to:

  • Explain how to improve public relations by using a positive story to balance out the negative news your utility is receiving
  • Discuss how artificial intelligence is being used to improve customer experiences across the utility industry
  • Identify lessons learned from case studies of storm communications to improve day-to-day communications
  • Explore new and traditional ways of communicating with customers to improve outage communications
  • Discuss pushing restoration narratives after big storms
  • Recognize how to establish open lines of communication throughout the organization
  • Demonstrate how be proactive with notifications to improve customer engagement
  • Discuss how to improve your operational process in preparation for the next big outage

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 course to be eligible for continuing education credit.

Instructional Methods:

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

Agenda

Monday, September 10, 2018

12:30 – 1:00 p.m. :: Registration

1:00 – 1:15 p.m. :: Overview and Introduction of Conference Chairs/MC’s – The Message Broadcast Team


1:15 – 1:30 p.m. :: Opening Remarks and Welcome Address from ComEd

On behalf of ComEd – a unit of Chicago-based Exelon Corporation, one of the nation’s largest electric and gas utility holding companies and the host utility for this conference – Cheryl Maletich will welcome her power industry colleagues to the corporate headquarters and review how the conference focus supports this fundamental industry requirement.

Cheryl Maletich, Vice President – Distribution System Operations, ComEd


1:30 – 2:15 p.m. :: “Repowering Puerto Rico” – Leveraging Duke Energy’s core operations for storying-telling success

When Hurricane Maria was battering Puerto Rico, Duke Energy was facing a different storm in terms of negative media coverage specifically with rate cases. Duke Energy sent a team to Puerto Rico to assist with the restoration efforts. In this session, Paige Layne will share Duke’s strategy for communicating about their team’s deployment to Puerto Rico.  Duke was able to use the positive story of their team’s response in Puerto Rico to balance out the negative news coverage they were getting.

Paige Layne, Corporate Communications Manager, Duke Energy


2:15 – 3:00 p.m. :: ChatBots in Action:  SMECO Leads the Way on Outage Communications

SMECO has been a leader in outage communications providing proactive outage communications to their customers/members via many different channels.  Providing great customer service rocketed SMECO to the top in customer satisfaction ratings over the past 10 years.

In this session, learn how SMECO has evolved their outage communications starting with an outage map along with text and email communications, and most recently with artificial intelligence.  SMECO is piloting a chatbot to allow SMECO customers to use Facebook Messenger to automatically answer questions not only about power outages but other account information. In addition, SMECO will discuss how ETR communications play an important role in outage communications during major outage events.

Joe Trentacosta, CIO, Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative (SMECO)

Rob Gilpin, National Sales, KUBRA

3:00 – 3:30 p.m. :: Networking Break


3:30 – 4:15 p.m. :: Ice Storm Aftermath: Bringing the Pieces Together on Crisis Communications

In January 2017, a major ice storm cut a swath through the Province of New Brunswick, knocking out power to approximately 40% of NB Power customers for multiple days in frigid temperatures, bringing down miles of power lines and hundreds of poles. NB Power, in coordination with various government agencies needed to quickly align and create a critical path to provide timely and accurate information to support the affected communities. Restoration and recovery efforts lasted over 12 days and required fast thinking and creative ways of operating and communicating. This presentation will focus on the new and traditional ways of communicating with customers, navigating the communications coordination with government agencies and explore the lessons learned from the event.

Marie-Andrée Bolduc, Communications Specialist, NB Power


4:15 – 5:00 p.m. :: Building Partnerships at ComEd

ComEd may have one of the most formidable outage communications challenges in North America, as the utility responsible for serving one of the largest metropolitan and business centers in the U.S. known for its nasty weather events. Yet, the company has forged an excellent track record by bringing the operations division together with external affairs and other departments. This presentation will share how the company has focused on critical infrastructure and life-threatening conditions to make constant improvements in communications to be better prepared when the next storms roll in.

Rob Fournie, Director, Emergency Preparedness, ComEd

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


Tuesday, September 11, 2018

7:45 – 8:15 a.m. :: Continental Breakfast

8:15 – 9:00 a.m. :: Welcome Address by Message Broadcast and presentation on “Outage to Wallet: Leveraging Amazon strategies for more effective digital communications”

The utility industry’s focus on the digital customer experience started from an operational need for efficiencies, reduced cost, and improvements in customer satisfaction. Conversely, leading brands have focused on digital customer experience for the branding and influence necessary to increase profitability. Given the right technology and conversational session flows, successful customer experience does much more than educate, confirm, transact, enroll and resolve, in doing so it also produces satisfaction, loyalty and spend. Utilities are now able to leverage what these brands have taken decades to learn to result in more effective, actionable and compliant communications.

In this session, we will discuss specific customer communication strategies used by the world’s leading brands and their applicability to the utility industry. Importantly, the utilities that capture a high level of customer affinity with the right digital relationship will have something that Amazon and Apple don’t-relevance, true trusted energy advisors. Using the science of persuasion, a properly designed notification is not only relevant-it’s actionable. Learn how your influence and your ability to reduce customer effort in the moments that matter is a benefit to your customer, your call center, and your bottom line.

Bill Joiner, Chief Strategy Officer, Message Broadcast


9:00 – 9:45 a.m. :: Restoration Narratives after Big Storms

For utilities, the first restoration priorities include public safety and critical care facilities, such as 911 centers, hospitals and pumping stations. From there, restoration is scheduled so that the greatest number of customers can be restored as quickly and as safely as possible. This is all fine and dandy, but it seems as if utilities have given up on pushing restoration narratives after big storms. How much of what utilities get is wrong, irrelevant, and devoid of context? Do they feel that having an outage map is sufficient and they tell the media to just get what they need? In this session, Ike Pigott with Alabama Power will explore these questions regarding restoration narratives.

Ike Pigott, Communications Strategist, Alabama Power Company


9:45 – 10:30 a.m. :: 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

10:30 – 10:45 a.m. :: Morning Break


10:45 – 11:30 a.m. :: Working Collaboratively with Internal Partners to Overcome Differing Agendas

Today’s Southern California Edison (SCE) is the product of more than a century of providing reliable electric service to central, coastal and southern California. The SCE Outage Team has a vision to achieve best in Industry class. To achieve this goal, it requires working with various internal partners that have different agendas. In this session, hear from SCE about how we work collaboratively with internal teams to reach our initiatives of continually improving customer satisfaction during outages.

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

Scott Long, Senior Advisor Outage Management and Improvement, Southern California Edison


11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. :: 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. 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:

Jay Malin, Managing Director, AGENT511

Panelists:

Joe Trentacosta, CIO, Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative (SMECO)

Paige Layne, Corporate Communications Manager, Duke Energy

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

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

12:30 – 1:30 p.m. :: Group Luncheon


1:30 – 2:15 p.m. :: Before the Storm

Digital communications play an enormous role in keeping customers informed and safe during outages and storm emergencies. Learn how Entergy, PSEG Long Island, Consumers and other utilities have proactively engaged with customers as part of the Customer Journey, before a storm ever strikes, to promote advance storm preparation and their various outage communications such as mobile alerts, outage maps, outage reporting via text and more.

Jill Bryan, Director of Marketing, Questline

Josh Platt, Account Director, Questline


2:15 – 3:00 p.m. :: Building a Playbook for Post-Storm Success with Restoration 1-2-3

In preparation for the 2018 hurricane season, Jacksonville, Florida-based JEA has taken a proactive approach, employing a multimedia communications campaign that sets customer expectations for the power restoration process, using a simplified, three-phase approach. In this session, JEA will share their team strategy for improving storm preparation communication, including:

  • Improved operational processes, data and technology
  • Restoration 1-2-3, a new phased approach to post-storm power restoration
  • Critical messaging and customer engagement strategies

David Goldberg, Director, Customer and Community Engagement, JEA

3:00 – 3:15 p.m. :: Afternoon Break


3:15 – 4:00 p.m. :: How Customer Phone Data Impacts the Customer Experience

At the heart of customer communication is identity — if you don’t get it right, everything else will be wrong especially when dealing with outages. 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. In this session, learn how customer phone number management can positively impact the entire customer communication experience.

Daniel Clark, Senior Account Executive – Fraud, Risk and Compliance, Neustar


4:00 p.m. :: Conference Adjourns

Workshop

Using New Approaches to Improve the Customer Experience during Outage Communications

Monday, September 10, 2018

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

8:30 – 11:30 a.m. :: Workshop Timing

Overview

When outages occur, it’s crucial that your customers see your utility as proactive and responsive. In today’s advanced world, customers are looking for information anywhere and everywhere. How your utility approaches communications, including when and how you begin that dialogue to build trust, can make the difference in winning loyal customer advocates for your utility.

Participants will discuss how and where customer expectations are set and see examples of how other utilities approach their storm communications. Attendees will view latest outage analytics trending and explore how to intentionally design and actively manage outage communications, even before an outage ever occurs. During the workshop, participants will journey map an intentional customer experience for use in their community prior to severe weather season that builds trusts and raises customer engagement and satisfaction. The New Approaches to Outage Communications workshop was a popular feature of our previous Outage Communications conference and this workshop will provide an updated review of communications best practices and analytics.

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 touchpoints
  • Discuss what measurement methods for effective outage communications reveal
  • 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
  • Analytics related to Outage Communications
  • Journey-mapping Activity
  • Group Discussion Related to Outage Communication Improvements
  • Case Studies for Outage Communication Best Practices
  • Review of communication channels and messages
  • Developing an Outage Communications Preparation Series to engage customers in advance of high outage season
  • Summary and Wrap up

Instructors

Jill Bryan, Director of Marketing, Questline

Jill currently serves as Director of Marketing, responsible for brand stewardship, website, social media, promotions, public relations and communications for Questline. In her previous role as Account Director, Jill managed Questline’s strategies for PSEG Long Island, PSE&G, Entergy, Pacific Gas & Electric, AEP, Avista Utilities, and Idaho Power across outage communications, paperless billing, energy efficiency and My Account communications. Jill also has 25+ years of experience serving as Director of Marketing for WP/Glimcher and Franklin Park Conservatory in Columbus, Ohio, as well as overseeing strategic planning, business development, branding and digital communications for non-profit groups, experiential destinations and economic development organizations.


Darren Thraen, Business Development Director, Questline

In his role as Business Development Director for Questline, Darren manages new business development with key utility accounts as well as strategic direction for the market. He believes that understanding a customers’ critical business needs and delivering solutions or services that help clients meet their business objectives is critical to customer satisfaction and a successful, long-term business relationship. Darren has a decade worth of Outage Communications experience and is also a Six Sigma Black Belt.

Speakers

Marie-Andrée Bolduc, Communications Specialist, NB Power

Jill Bryan, Director of Marketing, Questline

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

Daniel Clark, Senior Account Executive – Fraud, Risk and Compliance, Neustar

Rob Fournie, Director, Emergency Preparedness, ComEd

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

Rob Gilpin, National Sales, KUBRA

David Goldberg, Director, Customer and Community Engagement, Jacksonville Electric Authority

Bill Joiner, Chief Strategy Officer, Message Broadcast

Paige Layne, Corporate Communications Manager, Duke Energy

Cheryl Maletich, Vice President – Distribution System Operations, ComEd

Jay Malin, Managing Director, AGENT511

Ike Pigott, Communications Strategist, Alabama Power Company

Josh Platt, Account Director, Questline

Joe Trentacosta, CIO, Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative (SMECO)

Kassidy Warren, Manager, Business Delivery, Puget Sound Energy, Inc. (PSE) (invited)

Location

Millennium Knickerbocker Hotel

163 E Walton Pl

Chicago, IL 60611

Reserve your room:

please call 1-800-621-8140
Please  use Group Code 1809EUCIFF  to indicate you are with the EUCI group to receive the group rate..
Click here to book online

Room Block Reserved For:

Nights of September 9 – 11, 2018

Room rate through EUCI:

$239.00 single or double plus applicable taxes
Make your reservations prior to August 10, 2018.

Venue Information

The hotel is sold out on the evening of September 10.

Listed below are some nearby hotels

Hilton Chicago/Magnificent Mile Suites

198 E Delaware Pl, Chicago, IL, 60611, United States
(312) 664-1100 
0.1 miles to Millennium Knickerbocker Hotel

The Westin Michigan Avenue Chicago
909 North Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL, 60611, United States
(312) 943-7200
0.1 miles to Millennium Knickerbocker Hotel

Four Seasons Hotel Chicago
120 East Delaware Place, Chicago, IL, 60611, United States
(312) 280-8800
0.1 miles to Millennium Knickerbocker Hotel

Raffaello Hotel
201 E Delaware Pl, Chicago, IL, 60611, United States
(312) 943-5000 
0.1 miles to Millennium Knickerbocker Hotel

Hyatt Centric Magnificent Mile
633 N St Clair St, Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 787-1234
0.39 miles to Millennium Knickerbocker Hotel

Swissotel Chicago
323 E Upper Wacker Dr, Chicago, IL 60601
(312) 565-0565
0.85 miles to Millennium Knickerbocker Hotel

Palmer House Hilton
17 E Monroe St, Chicago, IL 60603
(312) 726-7500
1.33 miles to Millennium Knickerbocker Hotel

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