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September 14, 2017

Customers Visit Outage Maps 3.6 Million Times, Receive 1.3 Million Alerts During Hurricane Irma

Hurricane Irma affected a wide swath of land in the Atlantic, as it first swept through many of the Caribbean Islands before moving through the length of Florida. The massive storm covered almost the entire Florida peninsula and turned into a tropical depression as it passed north through Georgia.

The storm made landfall in the Florida Keys as a Category 4 storm with winds of 130 mph, downing trees and power lines all throughout the state. Accompanying the high winds was a storm surge that set a 50 year record in Jacksonville, 400 miles from the storm’s original landfall.¹

Many utilities warned customers prior to the storm to be prepared for widespread outages and extended restoration times, and their warning proved well-founded. The hurricane left over 6.2 million homes and business without power and 220,000 thousand people displaced into shelters.¹

Utilities are rushing to restore power so residents can begin recovery efforts, but have run into many roadblocks, such as large downed trees and flooding. Damage has been such a big problem that many utilities have not yet been able to provide estimated restoration times for its customers. Social media has proven an effective way to communicate with customers about the restoration efforts by showing pictures of storm damages, crew members on site, and more.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Storm Center Outage Map Usage

Another key communication channel during and after the storm is utility outage maps. Customers heavily use this resource to check overall outages in their area, as well as check outage statuses and report outages. KUBRA has several clients in the affected area with our Storm Center™ outage maps deployed, and the team was hard at work during the storm to ensure the maps were prepared for the huge influx of traffic.

As mentioned in a previous blog post, KUBRA took several proactive measures to ensure our software was prepared for the onslaught, such as checking server health and coordinating 24/7 support plans. The ability for an outage map to scale to meet the demand of increased traffic during a storm is an important factor, and can make the difference between customers’ ability to access important outage information or crashing a website. KUBRA is proud to announce that our systems were up and running throughout the storm. Some other maps in the area had significant loading issues, and customers can easily become frustrated with a broken map during such a critical time.

At the peak of the storm, the largest KUBRA client in the area had 1.2 million customers out of power and 1,400 outages, all without performance or scalability suffering. The outage maps did experience the increased amounts of traffic expected, as the KUBRA outage maps deployed in the affected area received a total of 3.6 million views between Saturday, September 9 and Tuesday, September 13. Of these views, nearly 80% were from a mobile device or tablet, further highlighting the importance of mobile-friendly outage maps.

To view outage maps of affected areas during and after the storm, see screenshots listed at end of post.

 

Notifi Alerts Usage 

Proactive communications are also vitally important during a storm, and the KUBRA Notifi® alerts and preference management system was implemented in the affected area as well. Notifi was used before, during, and after the storm to keep users informed through proactive outage alerts, outage reports, and outage status updates. Customers were able to receive these alerts in the channel of their choice, whether it be text, email, or voice.

Prior to the storm, more than 425,000 customer contacts associated with nearly 400,000 accounts were enrolled to receive alerts through KUBRA implementations at Georgia Power, Gulf Power, and JEA. Between Saturday, September 9 and Tuesday, September 13, Notifi was used to send out more than 1.3 million messages, including more than 290,000 proactive outage alerts. Two-way text alerts were also heavily used, with nearly 69,000 outages reported through this method. Storms are typically high drivers of alert enrollments, and this one was no exception. KUBRA clients in the area saw more than 63,000 new contact registrations, for an average 11.6% increase in total registrations.

 

Outage Map Screenshots

The screenshots below show the tumultuous storm and its resulting outages. The screenshots show some of the worst times of the storm, with some even incorporating a weather radar overlay. The second set of screenshots shows the extent of damage, with outages spread throughout the states.

 

Duke Energy

Saturday, September 9 at 9:00 pm

Monday, September 11 at 3:00 pm

 

Georgia Power

Saturday, September 9 at 9:00 pm

Monday, September 11 at 3:00 pm

 

Gulf Power

Saturday, September 9 at 9:00 pm

Monday, September 11 at 3:00 pm

 

JEA

Saturday, September 9 at 9:00 pm

Monday, September 11 at 3:00 pm

 

Our hearts go out to those affected by Hurricane Irma, and we will continue to do our part to support restoration efforts for this storm, as well as prepare our system for any storms that may follow.

 

1Electric Light & Power