Outage Map Provides Online Information to
Thunder Bay Hydro Customers
by Scott A. Sumner
In response to growing customer demand for current outage information, Thunder Bay Hydro has officially launched an online outage map on their website. The map will display current information about known outages including the number of customers affected, the status of power restoration efforts and the estimated time of power restoration if it is known.
This map will add to the recent use of social media during major power outages in that it will display information about smaller outages. These might be taking place for crew safety during normal infrastructure maintenance as well as scheduled outages where customers had been notified ahead of time.
The outage map can be accessed at www.tbhydro.com using a button at the top of the website, or with a prominent link from the front page. The map is designed to display on desktop, tablet and mobile devices, making it more accessible to customers with a charged internet-enabled
smart phone during an outage at their location. Andy Armitage, Customer Service Supervisor, Thunder Bay Hydro
“Our customers asked us for a better way to communicate with them during an outage. This gives us a better presentation, more information that is more accurate. We started in November online and our response was very good. Several of the utilities in Ontario and the US have been using a system like this and we looked at what would work the best for us using what we already had in house and leveraging the staff we had. The website is updatable immediately. It gives you information like how many people are out working on the problem, the time to restore power and the last update.”
“ The information will now come out of the control room based off a map. It is better information and timing. We can add other features in the future. It is available on any mobile device. “
Tim Wilson, Vice President Customer and Information Services Thunder Bay Hydro
“ The map is important to us as we have been getting feedback from customers can we have more information, quicker and know more about why am I out. We listened to the customer and decided this was a good path to go down. We are happy with how it performed in December so we are publically announcing it now.” “ Customers can know it is not just them
that has power out in their area. We are seeing an number of utilities doing this type of mapping across Ontario. Some utilities don’t have this yet but it is a good place to be for customers now as they are more sophisticated and want to know more information.”