Communications Before, During, and After Superstorm Sandy

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Mary McCartney, Director, Corporate Communications, Consolidated Edison Company, Inc.
26th Annual E Source Forum Presentation

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Communications Before, During, and After Superstorm Sandy

  1. 1. 26th Annual E Source Forum September 17–20, 2013 Communications Before, During, and After Superstorm Sandy 1
  2. 2. Today’s Discussion • The Storm • Preparations • Impact • Restoration • Communications Best Practices • Post-Sandy Communications 2
  3. 3. Superstorm Sandy An Unprecedented Event • Largest Atlantic storm on record, spanning 800 miles in diameter • More than 8.5 million power outages across 21 states • Sustained winds reached 64 mph at LaGuardia Airport with peak gust of 90 mph on Staten Island • Storm tide recorded at the Battery – 14.06' 3
  4. 4. Storm Preparations • • Deployed thousands of personnel to work 24/7 • Contacted customers who use life-sustaining equipment, and critical-care facilities to warn of possible service outages • Secured initial deliveries of dry and wet ice in anticipation of significant customer outages • • Activated Corporate Coastal Storm Plan Communicated safety information through press releases, Web updates, and an e-mail blast to 1.3 million customers Established Corporate Emergency Response Center (CERC) – Enables high-level communication between Con Edison departments and governmental agencies 4
  5. 5. Storm Preparations E-mail Blast 5
  6. 6. Storm Impact Exceeded Expectations and Set Records 6
  7. 7. Storm Impact 7
  8. 8. Storm Impact Courtesy: MTA 8
  9. 9. Storm Impact Transportation • Subway and ferry service disrupted for days • LIRR, NJ Transit, MetroNorth service disrupted for weeks • JFK, LaGuardia and Newark-Liberty airports closed for days Both photos courtesy: MTA 9
  10. 10. Storm Impact Extensive Damage to Con Edison Equipment 10
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  15. 15. Restoration Storm-Response Videos 15
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  18. 18. Restoration Communications • Outreach to customers, elected officials, city agencies, municipalities, regulators and media • Call centers handled more than 1.2 million calls • Company made nearly 1.4 million calls • • Daily press briefings Con Edison CEO Kevin Burke participated in 3 mayoral press briefings 18
  19. 19. Restoration Communications Results 19
  20. 20. Restoration Communications Results 20
  21. 21. Restoration Social Media Communications • @ConEdison Twitter gained 16,000 followers during Sandy • 25 videos that Con Edison posted during the storm received over 100,000 hits • Images posted to Flickr during the storm received over 140,000 hits • Con Edison’s use of social media during Sandy earned several PR industry awards 21
  22. 22. Restoration What Media Said About Our Communications 22
  23. 23. Communication Best Practices What We Did Well • Social media – tweeted restoration and safety information; engaged in online conversations • Videos – posted online for customers, sent to employees, sent to elected officials • Quickly responded to YouTube video – be flexible • Rumor control • Daily conference calls with elected officials • Prepared narrative immediately after storm • Pushing to remain part of the bigger picture/conversation 23
  24. 24. Communications Best Practices What We’ve Done Since Sandy • Research • Fortifying the Future – branded system improvements plan • Give presentations at a wide variety of conferences • TV, radio, print digital advertisements about system improvements • Media tours 24
  25. 25. Communications Best Practice How We Restore Power 25
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  27. 27. Communications Best Practice Advertisements 27
  28. 28. Communications Best Practice Advertisements 28
  29. 29. Communications Best Practice Advertisements 29
  30. 30. Communications Best Practices Press Events 30
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  32. 32. Communications Best Practices Press Events 32
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  34. 34. Communications Best Practices Muni Dashboard for Westchester County • County map shows entire county’s outages, ETRs, customers in each municipality • Remainder of dashboard is municipality specific • Muni maps shows dry ice and outreach van locations • Icons distinguish critical locations, e.g., hospitals, nursing homes, sewer /water pump stations • Muni job details table shows road closure tickets as well as impacts to schools and critical locations • Muni officials can find out specific ticket info: customers affected by outage, number of calls, feeder source 34
  35. 35. Communications Best Practices Muni Dashboard for Westchester County • Improve communication channels with municipal officials 35
  36. 36. Communications Best Practices Muni Job Details Page 36
  37. 37. Communications Best Practices What We’ve Done Since Sandy • Introduce new mobile app – – – – allowing customers to pay bill report/check the status of an outage submit a meter reading get tips on gas/steam/CO safety • Offer text messages with storm preparation information, safety tips, and outage updates • Expanding social media communications 37
  38. 38. Communications Best Practices Social Media Strategy - Listen, Inform, Engage • Twitter and Facebook primary channels • Address individual customer inquiries through personal messages • Post good news, i.e. volunteer work, promote ebill • Share highlights of press releases and links to full reports • Promote our nonprofit partners • Thank fans and followers for sharing our content • Educate about safety issues, e.g., storms, scams, gas hazards, how to contact us in emergencies 38
  39. 39. Communications Best Practices Social Media Strategy - Listen, Inform, Engage Facebook homepage Twitter homepage 39
  40. 40. Communications Best Practices Our Conversations During Sandy
  41. 41. Communications Best Practices Our Conversations Post-Sandy 41
  42. 42. Communications Best Practices Maintaining Engagement on Social Media • Contest lived on Facebook, crosspromoted on Twitter • Goal: Keep Fans, Grow Likes • More than doubled our Facebook fans • Promote our nonprofit partners • Reshape perception of company: show friendly side 42
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