Improving storm damage assessments at electric utilities.
Jay Cadman is vice president of networks industry strategy for Ubisense, a vendor specializing in locational intelligence for electric utilities and communications carriers. Prior to joining Ubisense, Cadman served in sales, marketing and operations roles for GE Network Solutions and Smallworld. He can be reached at email@example.com.
The cost of weather-related damage to electric utilities can be astronomical. While restoration costs can threaten the viability of a utility in the short-term, the response effort in relation to customer sentiment can carry a lasting impact. Two days after Hurricane Sandy hit the East Coast in October 2012, more than six million people were without power, including half of the population of New Jersey and a fifth of New York residents. According to a report1 issued in February 2013 by the New York State Bipartisan Task Force, power for more than two million households was out for weeks and even months. According to the same report, the majority of local officials expressed dissatisfaction with their utility company due to a "lack of communication, disorganization, poor customer service and slow response time."
Consolidated Edison, Inc., (Con Ed), the largest utility affected by Hurricane Sandy, was heavily scrutinized for its failings related to storm preparedness and restoration. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo voiced his opinion on multiple occasions. During a news conference, he said, "The utility system we have was designed for a different time and for a different place. It is a 1950s system. ... The management has failed the consumers."2