The winter of 2013-2014 was one of the coldest and snowiest on record, causing major power outages across the nation. For example, the Greater Philadelphia area was hit with its second-largest outage ever on February 5, leaving about 712,000 people in the dark.
With the increasing onslaught by Mother Nature, more and more people are experiencing dissatisfaction with their utility companies and turning to other methods to provide for their energy needs.
The decline in customers lowers the revenue for these companies, resulting in fewer jobs that account for slower response times and fewer transmission infrastructure repairs. Utilities are in a bind to stay in power.
The trap of today’s utility industry is addressed in an article published recently in the FTI Journal, titled “The Long Road to Improved Utility Storm Planning Begins Here” by Ellen Smith and R.J. Arsenault, economic consultants for the Energy and Utilities Division at FTI Consulting. In the article, the authors suggest solutions for utility companies to change public perception and restore investor confidence, including:
“- Identifying which organizations are doing well at restoring power and developing better, consistent metrics across the industry;
“- Installing a faster, more diligent tree-trimming program to remove branches that bring down power lines;
“- Collaborating with regulators and governing authorities to free up the money necessary to rebuild workforces and training programs and replacing retiring line workers; and
“- Conducting diligent surveys of service areas to make sure the appropriate resources are available in the most vulnerable areas.