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52 ✁ ✂ ✄ ☎ ✆ ✝ ✞ ✟ ✠ ✡ ✟ ✝ ☛ ✠ ✝ ☞ &Z^ƵďƐĐƌŝƉƟŽŶ͗ ✌ ✌ ✌ ✍ ✎ ✏ ✎ ✑ ✒ ✓ ✔ ✑ ✔ ✒ ✕ ✖ ✒ ✗ ✘ ✙ ✕ ✍ ✑ ✗ ✚ #:#3*"/#&--&TSJ$BOBEB T he occurrence of severe weather events is on the rise at an alarming rate. According to the Insurance Bureau of Canada, extreme weather events that used to happen once every 40 years now occur as frequently as every six years in some regions; severe weather is expected to become even more frequent over the next four decades due to the e!ects of climate change. These events often leave a massive trail of devastation and loss a!ecting thousands, if not millions, of people. In 2013 alone, the year-end severe weather insured loss in Canada amounted to $3.2 billion, primarily as a result of the December ice storm that battered southern Ontario and eastern Canada. Due to its broad impact, severe weather often dominates the news. Without a single, credible source of real-time outage information, it could be very easy for media outlets to misconstrue information about power failures and deliver news that is counter to the truth, to the detriment of utilities. Therefore, the question becomes, "how can utilities communicate outages e!ectively and promote a more informed and knowledgeable public, rather than simply a more opinionated one?" Maps are an obvious solution because geography is a key element of how utilities manage their electric network and the "eld operations that support it. Furthermore, maps are a logical way of presenting the status of a utility system. Historically, utilities provided outage maps by scripting back-o#ce processes to create static images of outage areas, which are then pushed to their website periodically. However, this traditional static and signi"cantly delayed outage map work%ow misses the mark in providing context for the power outage (for example, route, destination of storm, possible areas a!ected by outages, and list of locations with restored power). Additionally, the presented information is often outdated by the time the static maps go live on the utility's website, which, consequently, could further reinforce inaccurate or out-of-date messaging to the public. Advances in geographic information system (GIS) technology now make it possible to disseminate up-to-the-minute information on power outages using dynamic web maps, which are easily accessible to utility sta! and the public through their smartphones, tablets, and desktop computers. Web maps allow the utility to convey more accurate, timely, and compelling information. $-06%$0.165*/($"1"#*-*5*&4 Typically, customer inquiries to utilities increase exponentially during times of severe weather. This occurrence can be costly if utilities rely primarily on call centers to answer customer questions about outages. Call centers charge an average of $2 to 4 per call received during the day and in some cases, up to $15 per call at night. These charges could result in thousands of dollars in call center costs during a major outage. Web maps are a cost-e!ective outage communications tool and it is critical that WHEN THE LIGHTS GO OUT How to use web maps for outage communications N Photo credit (iced power lines): Robert Lawton #*--*0/ Amount of year-end severe weather insured losses in 2013, primarily due to the December ice storm that battered southern Ontario and eastern Canada. OUTAGE MANAGEMENT REVIEW SMART GRID

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