Storm Response Planning: Four Tips

Though prediction modeling has significantly improved with the advent of modern technology, weather forecasting is still the quintessential inexact science. Experts may have more data than ever to analyze, but forecasting the weather still boils down to an educated guess. Take the path of a tornado, for example. Weather forecasters can pick up on atmospheric conditions consistent with the formation of a tornado. It’s impossible to predict exactly if, when, or where one will develop. Likewise, hurricanes can shift and reverse course at a moment’s notice.

It’s that level of unpredictability that prompts utilities to develop comprehensive storm response plans. Whether you’re planning for catastrophic weather, those mid-summer thunderstorms that knock out the power for hours, or an accumulation of ice that wreaks havoc on multiple types of utilities, preparing well in advance for weather can help to reduce the duration of outages. Here are four steps to take to ensure you’re ready. (more…)

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First-Time Fix Rate Should be a First-Priority KPI

If you’ve ever worked in customer service or spent a few minutes listening to a frustrated customer, you understand how crucial it is to get the job done right the first time. Field service companies routinely track how successful technicians are at doing just that. They even have a term for it: first-time fix rate. This metric is one of the most important for a business because it plays a pivotal part in profitability. A poor first-time fix rate is an indicator of inefficiency. The company burns through excess time and resources from having to make repeat site visits.

However, in contrast with other risks to revenue, a first-time fix rate is a controllable and correctable metric. In fact, with just a few tweaks to your existing processes, you could see substantial gains. That will make your customers happier and also helps in boosting your bottom line. Check out the three ways below to improve your company’s first-time fix rate. (more…)

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How UPA Uses Technology to Improve Operations

In the past, consumers have unfairly stigmatized utility companies with labels like “slow-moving,” “inefficient” and “rigid.” Innovation has been slow in order to keep utilities running steadily, reliably, and reactive, and to make sure customers stay happy. Taking chances doesn’t always make sense when the health of a power grid is on the line. In more recent years, companies in this space have been able to shake off criticisms by striking a balance between deploying technologies and maintaining dependability. And it’s paying off.

McKinsey reports that utility companies using digital technologies are transforming operations and reducing operating expenses by up to 25%. Additionally, these same companies have seen gains of 20 to 40% in areas like safety, customer satisfaction, and regulatory compliance. (more…)

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Why Outsourcing Makes Sense

Efficiency is key for utility providers.  Tasked with the job of supplying our homes and businesses with electricity, water, and gas. Along with striving for efficient operations, these companies must also prioritize excellence; all while staying ahead of problems that could result in widespread outages.

If a grocery store sells out of steak for three days, a few customers may feel inconvenienced but if an entire zip code loses power for three days, there will be thousands of inconvenienced customers.

Outsourcing specific services makes sense for utility companies and allows them to focus on the goals of delivering efficiency, excellence and low-cost, reliable water, gas and electricity to their customers. The functional areas in which you can outsource are nearly endless, and the benefits can be immeasurable. If you’re on the fence regarding the merits of outsourcing, here are a few reasons why your business will be better because of it. (more…)

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Prioritizing Customer Service Across the Business

No company wants to admit it to occasionally dropping the ball. But when you’re employing human beings, mistakes are bound to happen. On the other side of the equation, level-headed customers understand that experiencing minor inconveniences is bound to happen.  Such as a delay in a product shipment or the rescheduling of an appointment. But in both of these instances, at the proverbial intersection where avoidable and unavoidable problems meet, the most successful companies are often those with a focus on providing solid customer service. (more…)

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Proactive Equipment Checks: A Lifeline for Your Business

New equipment is one of the most expensive line items for businesses in nearly all industries. From heavy machinery on construction sites to instruments that utility companies rely on, these tools of the trade are imperative for operations. So, when the success of your business depends on functioning equipment, one would think maintaining equipment would be a priority. But the reality is that many businesses don’t take a proactive approach to quality check-ups of equipment.

Faulty equipment always seems to be noticed when it’s too late. Unplanned repair or replacement costs can damage the health of the business and potentially, customer relationships. If you’re guilty of this kind of approach to maintenance, keep reading. Here are three ways that regularly-scheduled proactive equipment checks can positively impact your business.dd


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SOPs: When to Change Them and How to Make Them Stick

A sailor without a map risks spinning in circles, so, too, does an employee without a standard operating procedure. These step-by-step directional guides known as “SOPs” (standard operating procedures) provide the framework employees need to ensure consistency. While the nature of the SOP is critical, revamping the components procedure whenever needed might be just as important.

A thorough review and update of all SOPs is an exercise that should take place at least once a year. Some companies aren’t sure where to begin. When leadership does find that they need to make a change, many leaders don’t know how to put that update into place. If the thought of changing your SOPs is giving you pause, check out the helpful tips we’ve included below. (more…)

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3 Keys to Lineworker Safety

It’s been said that the lineworkers who install and maintain utility poles are among the toughest and most fearless employees you’ll find in today’s workforce. While installation offers its own set of complexities, the physical act of maintaining power lines is what really tests the resolve of these courageous employees. Also known as powerline technicians, these lineworkers scale poles ranging from 20 to 100 feet every day. They navigate the dangers of height and intense voltage, all to help their fellow citizens avoid power disruptions.

No one will ever doubt that the job carries its share of hazards. Certainly, a well-documented safety plan can eliminate some of the most common risks and the potential for injury. Of course, utility companies across the globe tout employee safety as a top priority. We are firm believers in the power of a reminder.  Whether you feel good about your company’s safety plan, or you could simply use a few fresh pointers, read on. You’ll learn three keys to utility pole maintenance safety. (more…)

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