Losing power can be devastating. Residents in the Northeast United States became all too familiar with that fact last fall during Hurricane Sandy and then again during a Winter Storm Nemo last month. When the electricity is knocked out, people only care about one thing: when is the power going to come back on?

Last week, this blog mentioned the text alerts system implemented by FirstEnergy Corporation – a program designed to keep consumers in the loop if and when their power goes out. It's part of First Energy's commitment to maintaining strong lines of communication with its customers. Electric companies have a responsibility to keep customers in the know while they work to restore power. This is still important even today because, while we are only days away from the official first day of spring, it appears we are not out of the winter woods quite yet. 

While most people are ready to ditch the snowboots and shovels for sandals and beach towels, winter isn't ready to go away. In fact, another storm is set to hit the Northeast later this week and could pile an additional foot of snow on some New England areas. Once again, the potential loss of electricity is the number one concern.

Massachusetts-based electric company promises to improve response timeliness 

NSTAR Electric, which services 1.4 million customers in the greater Boston area, has been under heavy scrutiny this season due to slow response times. However, the company is trying to become better prepared as the season winds down. Before a March 8 storm, NSTAR president Craig Hallstrom spoke with Boston's NBC affiliate about its efforts.

"Our workers are prepared to respond to any power outages caused by the storm as safely and as quickly as possible," Hallstrom said.

NSTAR's customers are not yet convinced that the company will live up to its claim, but NSTAR will have a chance to prove itself this week. Meanwhile, companies in a similar position can alleviate criticism and weather-related stress by sharing pertinent information with customers such as the status of their electricity. Swift SMS Gateway can provide organizations with the tools needed to launch effective and timely text alert services.