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PPL Electric Utilities Gets Thumps Up for Responsiveness to Hurricane Sandy

February 27, 2013

Communications technologies find their real meaning during disasters. Companies that used advanced technologies like social media, outbound dialers, e-mail and text messaging in customer interactions were at a winning edge while handling Hurricane Sandy. PPL Electric Utilities belonged to the category of companies that intelligently used the technologies to communicate with its customers when Hurricane Sandy wreaked havoc in several places in East Coast.

According to J.D Power and Associates, PPL was one of the three utilities that performed “particularly well" in its study that measured the responsiveness to and handling of Hurricane Sandy. The study was based on interviews with more than 5,900 U.S. residential customers in 31 utility territories impacted by the historic storm.

Sandy, the worst storm in PPL Electric Utilities’ history, affected more than 523,000 of its 1.4 million customers As part of its disaster preparedness efforts, the utility company assembled its largest ever storm response workforce, bringing in crews from 16 other states, including its Kentucky sister utilities, Kentucky Utilities and Louisville Gas and Electric.

Further the company expanded the capacity of its call center to handle the surge of customer calls. It launched an innovative PPL Alerts in early 2012. The service provided important information to customers by phone, e-mail or text message.

J.D. Power and Associates acclaimed the utility company for providing timely outage information to utility customers. PPL Electric Utilities’ customers were satisfied as they received proactive outbound communications, in which their utility sent e-mails, text messages or outbound calls. 

In addition, PPL Electric Utilities used social media to communicate with customers and share important information before and during the storm. Company executives also conducted daily briefings for elected officials across the service territory to keep them updated on storm recovery.

From Oct. 29 through Nov. 4, the utility recorded more than a million customer contacts via its website and interactive phone system or through conversations with customer service representatives.

"Being mentioned in the study as performing well is a feather in the cap of the army of workers, both in the field and in support roles, who prepared well in advance and then worked tirelessly to restore power for our customers," said PPL Electric Utilities president Gregory Dudkin, in a statement. "We learned from Hurricane Irene and other storms in 2011 and applied those lessons during Sandy."

Edited by Amanda Ciccatelli
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