As the anniversary of last October’s major nor'easter approaches, NSTAR is reaffirming its readiness for the next big storm. In the past year, the company has enhanced vegetation removal on its rights-of-way and added advanced automation to reinforce the electric grid; revised its information sharing procedures with cities and towns; and installed web-based tools for improved two-way communication with customers.
“Last fall’s historic snowstorm caused unprecedented damage across the region and interrupted power to more than 200,000 NSTAR customers,” said Werner Schweiger, President of NSTAR Electric. “We’re now better positioned to more quickly address emergencies, coordinate the restoration process with our communities and communicate with our customers.”
Reaching out to local emergency responders to discuss what worked well and what can be improved is an important part of NSTAR’s post-storm assessment. During meetings with every community after the nor’easter, company representatives gained valuable insight on how to ensure close coordination and communication with first responders, as well as improved communication with customers. The company’s response has been swift and significant.
Community officials in the NSTAR service area now have exclusive access to a web-based portal providing key information about the status of critical facilities within their respective cities and towns, as well as up-to-date outage and restoration information. Designated community liaisons and a real-time emergency reporting tool will further improve communication with local officials.Customers, government officials and the media can now view an outage map on the NSTAR website containing community-by-community outage information so they can keep up on the company’s progress in restoring outages. All customers, including smartphone users, can now also report outages via the company website. “No utility can guarantee a damage-free, outage-free storm,” Schweiger added. “NSTAR has taken steps over the past year to enhance its storm response by making the electric system more resilient and offering customers and their communities better access to information.”
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