A major storm can impact water, communication, and electric utilities for a million customers or more. Although hurricane season is when severe weather events are expected to occur, they can happen anytime anywhere. Tropical storms, blizzards, floods, mudslides, and more can create storm damage that hampers restoration work.
Lack of preparation can extend restoration times despite utility workers' best efforts. Utility companies must often rely on mutual assistance from each other and outside agencies to restore service. When plans are not already in place, companies might struggle with their restoration efforts.
This article addresses why post-storm support is important for utility companies so they can prioritize creating an effective and prompt action plan.
Post-Storm Support Helps Utility Companies Meet Customers' Expectations
Customers expect to have access to services they pay for. Although emergencies should alter their expectations, more often than not, they do not. Internet, phone, and power outages can be more than inconveniences. Ill customers might rely on medical equipment that can only operate for so long on battery power. Remote workers might be expected to complete their jobs or lose their income. Customers expect their utility providers to provide service, including storm restoration.
Additionally, utility companies should strive to offer frequent, clear updates on when a recovery effort is expected to conclude. Customers can then expect to have service restored at a certain time so they can plan to continue their lives according to their schedules. When they see progress is being made, they can adjust their expectations accordingly.
Mismanaging post-storm support can create dissatisfied customers who, if able, might switch utility providers. Proper post-storm support can keep customers satisfied and revenue coming in.
Post-Storm Support Helps Utility Companies Preserve Their Reputation
If utility companies can not meet their customers' expectations, then they risk more than losing revenue. They can be poorly perceived by the public and their peers. External entities might avoid partnering with them. New customers might steer clear. Post-storm support can preserve and improve utility companies' reputations. The faster and more effectively they act, the stronger they can appear in the eyes of current and prospective customers and the industry.
Post-Storm Support Helps Utility Companies Prevent Further Damage
When restoration crews are activated in a safe and timely manner, they can assess the damage and restore service as if they work like clockwork. Their efforts can prevent additional injuries and damage to storm-stricken areas. For example, clearing an area of storm debris so they can replace downed power poles can make the area safer for them and the public. Simply working around damage can place everyone involved at risk of injury or worse.
What Utility Companies Should Look For in Post-Storm Support
Utility companies have a lot of work ahead of them when forming a post-storm support plan that will meet customers' expectations, preserve their professional reputations, and restore service. They should consider three primary factors when determining what outside entities to team up with.
Utility providers should partner with companies that have experience that relates to a specific need. For example, if a provider must replace power poles, they should look for a hauling company that will make the job easier, not more difficult. The hauling company should be able to succeed despite less-than-ideal conditions and upon short notice. They should know how to support utility providers after a storm or other severe weather events and have the history to back their expertise.
Excellent Customer Service
Utility companies should not use companies that have not previously performed well. Using a subpar pole hauling company, for instance, can jeopardize recovery efforts and delay service restoration. Excellent customer service is more than doing a job well. It also involves how effectively they communicate and adapt to sudden changes.
An area ravaged by a storm is already full of perils. Utility providers should not add more opportunities for people to get hurt. They should search for companies that have stellar safety records. Emphasizing safety can keep people safe and restore service without delay.
Blackwood Resources' Post-Storm Support
Planning post-storm support well in advance of a weather event is crucial in ensuring a smooth and quick response. The Edison Electric Institute even has developed a protocol for disaster events for utility companies to follow when they need direction.
Investor-owned utilities should be on top of support to appease their stakeholders and customers. One way they can restore power and communications quicker is to have a utility hauling company on-call at all times. Disasters do not follow schedules like project managers. A hauling company that has experience delivering new power poles and other equipment to staging areas can optimize response and restoration times.
Blackwood Resources can mobilize when you need fast, dependable service. You do not have to scramble at the last second to get new poles where you need them. All you need to do is contact us and we will deploy our experienced drivers and specialized self-unloading trucks to deliver your equipment.
We recognize how important experience, customer service, and safety are when it comes to post-storm support. As a trusted partner within the utility industry, we aim to answer any utility hauling request quickly and responsibly. You can expect us to load, haul, and unload wood, steel, or concrete utility poles for your emergency restoration and routine projects. Our scheduling and service can scale to the magnitude of what you need to accomplish.
Get in touch with us today so you don't have to worry tomorrow.