Leak Detection Part Two: Gas

If you’re a regular visitor to our blog, you might have caught part one of our leak detection series focusing on water. For today’s part two, we’re turning our attention to gas. The differences between water and gas leakage are stark in many ways. A gushing hydrant or cracked water main can push out gallons of water per minute, making it easy to spy a leak. Even tiny cracks can push water up to the surface, leading to swampy conditions.

On the other hand, methane (the predominant component of natural gas) is colorless, making it more complicated to detect. And while the most likely outcome with lost water is lost revenue, gas leaks can have catastrophic environmental ramifications. Join us as we continue our “All About Leak Detection” series, discussing signs, detection technology, and long-term effects of undetected gas leaks. (more…)

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Leak Detection Part One: Water

While there’s much to debate about what the future of utilities looks like, one thing that’s universally clear is this: current infrastructure is aging rapidly. While utility companies have done an admirable job to replace and repair, ongoing deterioration can have a considerable impact on key performance indicators like revenue and service disruptions.

One telltale sign of infrastructure deterioration presents itself in the form of leaks. We’ve developed a two-part series dedicated to just that. Taking a closer look at what’s being done with leak detection. Reporting on topics like signs of a leak, what can happen if there’s a prolonged undetected leak, and how to inform customers about a leak in their area. Read on as we start with water leaks and why water utilities should invest in leak detection services, and stay tuned for part two on gas. (more…)

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Basic Asset Management: Benefits of Preventive Maintenance

Utilities like those that supply power, water, and gas for residents and businesses are your prototypical service providers. Excluding the production of clean water, these businesses don’t necessarily provide a tangible good that customers can touch or hold. And like many other service providers, utilities have high overhead costs. Especially when you consider the complexities of the assets they own and the maintenance involved.

For example, it’s been reported that the cost of shifting the U.S. power grid to 100% renewable energy would cost about $4.5 trillion. That’s indicative of a massive overhaul. Replacing busted pipes, leaky valves, and outdated meters add up to a substantial cost. It’s because of these costs that utilities must take good care of their assets. Here are a few advantages for utilities that perform regular asset maintenance through preventative care. (more…)

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Clean Uniforms Create Customer Confidence

The history of work uniforms is a tale nearly as old as time. Some historians even describe workers in the middle ages donning badges or insignias to indicate their role or employer.  In field-based industries like utilities, a worker physically represents the business. A tidy uniform and professional demeanor have a huge impact on the customer experience. Here, we’ll discuss some of those benefits and ways to ensure that your utility technicians are dressed to impress. (more…)

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Utility Customer Complaints are Serious Business

Warren Buffett, one of the business world’s most successful investors, entrepreneurs, and philanthropists, has never been short on words when it comes to running a business. Among the many quotes attributed to Buffett, perhaps the most frequently recited relates to the reputation of a business. “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it,” Buffett said. “If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.”

Buffett has long led Berkshire Hathaway, a holding company for many businesses across a spectrum of industries. Because of diversity, it should come as no surprise that the advice is applicable for nearly every business including utilities. Maintaining a sparkling reputation has proven to be a challenge for some utilities. We’re here today to talk about one shift in mindset that can pay big dividends toward improving your reputational standing.

Keep reading to find out why utilities should take customer complaints and recommendations seriously. (more…)

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5 Reasons Utilities Should Embrace Digital

There once was a time when utility customers had very simple requests. They wanted the company to deliver a service that was safe to use, reliable, and priced fairly. And while those requests remain in play, customers’ wish lists and demands have also grown considerably. For instance, modern-day customers are more environmentally conscious than ever before, and they expect utilities to follow suit. Today, there are even more choices that simply didn’t exist in years past. This forces utilities to be innovative and tactical to gain and retain customers among a crowding marketplace.

Customer retention strategies should be robust, wide-reaching plans that encompass a multitude of initiatives specific to the utility. However, there is one move a utility can make that should be part of everyone’s approach: a shift to digital. Here are five reasons why utilities need to upgrade old infrastructure and embrace a digital work environment. (more…)

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Customer Engagement Over Customer Service

The utility industry is unique in that a provider may have little to no competition for their services. This is especially true in states where utilities are regulated. In industries flush with brands and options, higher competition benefits the customer. Generally, competition prompts providers to strive for better products at lower prices to maintain market share.

The savviest utility companies recognize the importance of sound customer engagement. They have the strategy and know-how to respond when something goes wrong. These companies encourage transparency and communication and are receptive to criticisms. They also identify that customer engagement involves more than just customer service. Here are some ideas for strategies you can put in place to improve your utility’s customer engagement efforts.


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The Dish on Data Protection

Smart and automated technologies have revolutionized the way we live our lives. From how we consume content like television and music to the ways in which we exercise and operate kitchen appliances. But with these fresh advancements comes new complexities, including vulnerabilities around consumers’ personal data. On an individual level, vigilance around protecting sensitive information certainly plays a role. But what about the companies who act as gatekeepers of that data? What are the steps they should be taking to protect sensitive information?

Utility companies have the added responsibility of overseeing data that can impact the masses. Fortunately, maintaining excellent cybersecurity and protecting customer data is possible through a few proven tactics that keep data safe and secure. We’re going to share a few of them below. (more…)

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Upgrading Infrastructure is a Smart Decision

The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) is the oldest engineering society in the U.S. that includes the country’s foremost experts on the built environment. For years, ASCE has fervently advocated for updates to aging utility infrastructure, and its most recent report is no different. As published in March 2021, the report focuses specifically on progress made in infrastructure development, saying that “although much work remains to be done, the progress indicates the benefits that can result from increased funding, better asset management, and technological improvements.”

Upgrading infrastructure and expending the necessary capital needed to make that happen can be a daunting proposition for utilities.  They may already be balancing an exceedingly tight budget. Today, we’ll look at the positives of that investment and explore the real impacts of upgrading aging infrastructure. We’ll also look at digitization and securing the grid against natural and manmade disasters. (more…)

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