March 20, 2017
National Grid Upgrades Storm Center™ Map Just in Time
National Grid has upgraded to the newest version of Storm Center™ across all three service territories: Massachusetts, New York, and Rhode Island. The upgraded KUBRA Storm Center product delivers the same functionality and data presentation as its predecessor while also including an upgraded user interface, new Google Maps base, and responsive design. The new map is available on National Grid’s website, as well as through the company’s native mobile apps for Android and iOS.
National Grid also fully transferred the Storm Center platform to a cloud-hosted solution with Amazon Web Services (AWS). The switch from the former combination of on-site and AWS hosting to full AWS hosting allows for improved stability and performance.
In addition to the public-facing map upgrades, National Grid has upgraded its internal map. The map is accessible to National Grid employees through the newly-released Admin Console, and aggregates and summarizes data from all three National Grid service territories. The internal map also allows users to view a summary table of all outages in a tree structure by state and village.
The new upgrade includes the KUBRA StormText feature as part of the Storm Center and Notifi integration. Storm Text provides the same outage summary information as the public Storm Center map via two-way SMS text messaging. Users can text the keyword command “SUM” to National Grid’s short code (64743) to receive the current summary of all outages in the system. Users can also add modifiers, such as a county name, to the “SUM” command in order to request more specific information.
Summary information returned via SMS includes Customers Affected, System Affected (the total number of customers affected by outages in National Grid’s service territory), Latest ETR, and when the info was last updated.
The latest version of StormText allows users to make a request about a specified area, and replies with information on up to five areas containing the area name.
The implementations of the newly upgraded Storm Center and StormText feature couldn’t be timelier. National Grid’s production deployment of Storm Center and StormText took place in late February, as a big storm impacted New York and the mid-Atlantic region. Several weeks later, another Nor’easter crashed into the area right as KUBRA rolled out the updated version of StormText.
“Directly following the launch of our new maps, our service territories were hit with three storms over the course of three weeks. In that short time, our maps received over 1.2 million views and at the peak of the storms, our map was the #1 viewed page on our website,” said Krystal Darmanie, Senior Analyst on National Grid’s Emerging Digital Channels Team. “The outage maps are an important piece of our commitment to customer satisfaction and ensuring that we provide customers with important information during a storm. We are pleased that customers were able to get the information that they were looking for without having to make a phone call.”
These storms left many areas affected by outages, and Storm Center and StormText were instrumental in keeping National Grid customers informed of ongoing outages, locations of crews, and locations of ice trucks.
The ice truck icons, as seen on the map above, were used to alert customers where National Grid was handing out dry ice and bottled water during the storm. Customers had access to ice trucks in three different locations over the course of two days.
While National Grid worked to restore power, customers were grateful for the company’s hard work and communication. Customers who learn about outages and times of restoration are often more understanding and more satisfied because they know what to expect. As the winter storm season wraps up, Storm Center and StormText will continue to improve customer satisfaction, engagement, and safety.
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About National Grid
National Grid (LSE: NG; NYSE: NGG) is an electricity and natural gas delivery company that connects nearly 7 million customers to vital energy sources through its networks in New York, Massachusetts and Rhode Island. It is the largest distributor of natural gas in the Northeast. National Grid also operates the systems that deliver gas and electricity across Great Britain.
Through its U.S. Connect21 strategy, National Grid is transforming its electricity and natural gas networks to support the 21st century digital economy with smarter, cleaner, and more resilient energy solutions. Connect21 is vital to our communities’ long-term economic and environmental health and aligns with regulatory initiatives in New York (REV: Reforming the Energy Vision) and Massachusetts (Grid Modernization).