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August 8, 2013

Announcing a New Outage Map – Georgia Utility Shows How It’s Done

Screenshot of Georgia Power's outage map from WABE articleGeorgia Power’s Storm Center outage map has received a tremendous amount of positive press coverage since it was launched on June 1. Primarily driven by a public relations campaign that included a June 26 press release and a press conference held in early July, the launch campaign is an excellent example of how a utility can use self-serve tools such outage maps, notification programs and mobile apps to demonstrate their commitment to transparency and customer service to their customers.

 

 

Following is a summary of local and industry media coverage of the new outage map.

  • Local Georgia CBS affiliate WMAZ posted a brief story to their website on June 6, before Georgia Power made any announcements about the map.
  • Georgia Power’s June 26 press release about the outage map was picked up by Yahoo FinanceAtlanta Daybook and Reuters, and a slightly edited version of the press release was published by Savannah NBC affiliate WSAV.

Screenshot of Georgia Power outage map on an iPhone 5 from Utility Dive article

  • The outage map also received recognition in the utility industry publication Utility Dive, in a story by Brian Warmoth. In addition to a quote from Georgia Power’s press release, the Utility Dive story references the map’s optimization for mobile devices as a particularly noteworthy feature, and includes a screenshot of the mobile version of the map.
  • Mobile optimization was also a prominent point in a July 3 web story by WABE, Atlanta’s NPR station. The story’s visuals include desktop and mobile screenshots of the map, as well as a screenshot of Georgia Power’s “very active Twitter account.” The WABE story says that “This level of transparency into Georgia Power’s operations is unprecedented,” and also notes that one benefit of the mobile-enabled outage map is that “No special app is required.”

Georgia Power’s July press conference about the outage map was successful in creating additional media attention.

  • For example, the East Atlanta Patch website posted a story on July 9, including photos and quotes from Georgia Power representatives John Zumbado and Aaron Strickland about both the outage map and Georgia Power’s storm response process.
  • Atlanta Fox affiliate WAGA and NBC affiliate WXIA included footage from the press conference in TV reports posted to their websites with written summaries. Both stories focused on laptops and smartphones as channels for customers without power to access the map, and highlighted estimated restoration times as an important piece of information.
NBC_WXIA

NBC 11 Atlanta
MyFoxAtlanta

Fox 5 Atlanta

Mobile optimization and estimated restoration times were the most-noted features of Georgia Power’s map, and reporters used both desktop and mobile screenshots of the map to illustrate the available outage information. Thunderstorms that affected Georgia Power’s service territory soon after the map was launched also contributed to the map’s news value.

Media sources recognize the value of communications tools like outage maps for customers seeking information about outages and restoration times, and media coverage of this outage map highlights Georgia Power’s ongoing effort to increase customer satisfaction by providing more transparent communication.

Click here to learn more about iFactor’s Storm Center™ outage maps and other communication tools for utilities.