Power Outages Spell PR Disaster for Alabama Utilities

June 25, 2015

By Michelle Amodio - Power Protection Contributor

Officials with Riviera Utilities and Alabama Power Co. had some literal and figurative cleaning up to do after a massive five-hour power outage hit Eastern Shore earlier this month.

While the customers that were affected were under Riviera, Alabama Power maintains the lines, but the 24,000 customers that had to go without power in 91 degree temperatures pointed their frustrations towards Riviera, creating a PR nightmare.

The company was criticized for its lack of communication to customers, and as more people called in for a status update, phone lines became overloaded and social media outlets were updated only intermittently.

It wasn’t just residents that were affected; Daphne’s police department suffered a failed generator, significantly impacting dispatch and radio services.

Miles McDaniel, spokesman with Riviera Utilities, said the company had plans to meet to discuss "our next plan to communicate" with the public during a power outage. The company does not yet have a Twitter (News - Alert) account, and has only updated its Facebook page a handful of times.

While this problem is two-fold – first, opening up the lines of communication to meet the socially-conscious society that we live in, and the second being steadfast in fixing the power outage -- the situation teaches both the utility companies and its customers a big lesson: be power protection-ready.

Businesses that are serviced by power companies can prevent their own PR disasters by putting proper power protection measures in place; investing in solutions like an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) is a great first step to keeping things running while the utility companies sort out their issues.

Minuteman UPS/Para Systems (News - Alert) is a provider of power protection solutions and offers an array of products, from outlet surge protectors to UPSs, all of which are designed to keep businesses going despite how ineffectively the utility companies handle their power failures.

In addition to keeping things running smoothly, using power protection equipment can also save institutions thousands in costly damages due to outages in the event of an interruption or total outage.

Don’t let downed lines keep you in the dark. Have a plan ready, and make sure you’re using the proper power protection measures until all systems are a go.