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Braving the Blizzard: Enhancing Customer Communication with Outage Maps

February 21, 2024

Much like in 2023, Mother Nature reminded us that she plays by her own rules. An array of severe weather events ranging from blizzards to tornadoes had more than 70 million Americans nationwide on high alert at the beginning of January. From a utility perspective, the influx of weather warnings showed the potential for significant logistical and operational challenges. As the threat of storms shifted into reality, utility companies jumped into action, evaluating the impact, amping up customer communications, and mobilizing emergency response teams. 

Across the affected regions, KUBRA actively collaborated with its utility partners, using its cutting-edge outage communication tools—Storm Center™, an interactive outage map, and Notifi®, an alert and preference management system—to relay information about the extent of the power outages, the impacted regions, the reasons behind the disruptions, and the anticipated timelines for power restoration. 

Number of Outages and Customers Affected 

From January 9 to 14, widespread and varied storms battered extensive areas of the United States and Canada, leading to a total of 50,094 outages and impacting 1,906,977 of our utility partners’ customers.1

8.5 Million Views on KUBRA Outage Map

During the six days, our utility partners' outage maps were viewed by 1,322,957 total users. Throughout that same period, these users accessed their utility's Storm Center maps more than six times, culminating in 8.5 million views. The high frequency of return visits to the maps suggests that users found the information provided valuable in keeping them informed. 

Visitors Spend 30% More Time Viewing Maps

On average, users spent 2 minutes and 21 seconds per visit on their utility provider’s maps. The average engagement rate of 92.9% exceeds the industry average for B2C websites by 30%.  The data indicates that customers are highly engaged with their utility provider’s online mapping tools, showing longer visits and higher engagement rates than most B2C website interactions.

Utilities Sent Out More Than 3 Million Daily Messages to Keep Customers Informed

In December 2023, an average of 1,178,269 daily messages were sent to customers by our utility partners. From January 8-12, the average jumped threefold to 3,169,203 messages per day. The top three communication channels were email, SMS text, and voice, with chat also making a noteworthy appearance on the list of channels, highlighting its increasing relevance. Given the growing consumer familiarity with AI, utilities may consider integrating chat as an additional mode of communication. Importantly, despite the heightened traffic levels, the performance of these communication channels remained strong, with no significant increase in processing time for dispatching messages during this period.

KUBRA Is an Industry Leader in Providing Solutions for Outage Communications

Check out the resources below to learn more about how KUBRA supports major utility companies across North America to deliver top-tier outage communication solutions to their customers during severe weather events. 

1. Total number of outages recorded and customers affected are cumulative totals from January 9-14, 2024. This does not represent the unique number of outages recorded or customers affected.


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