03 January 2011


Puget Sound Energy
Using Social Media to Manage a Crisis
On Dec. 18, 2010, shortly after 9 a.m. Pacific Time in the Northwestern United States an ominous storm ripped through parts of the state of Washington. Puget Sound Energy’s communications team was prepared and by using various social media outlets, was able to keep their constituents informed of power outages, updates, restorations, and other safety tips and news affecting their region. Below is the timeline as it happened beginning that morning.
Using @PSEtalk to Keep People Updated
The Puget Sound region is experiencing wind-related power outages. Watch @PSETalk on Twitter, Facebook and PSE.com... http://fb.me/NdEFREFK12:56 PM Dec 18th via Facebook
Power outage information can be viewed on PSE’s service alert map on PSE.com. http://fb.me/NIi3zcQK1:04 PM Dec 18th via Facebook
As of 8 a.m., as many as 75,000 PSE customers are without power in more than 200 locations throughout our service area. #PSEoutage1:14 PM Dec 18th via web
Majority of outages in south King. Other hard hit areas include north King & Pierce. Parts of Thurston & Kitsap also have outages #PSEoutage1:16 PM Dec 18th via web
Safety tip: Remember to stay clear of downed power lines as they may be energized, report downed power lines to PSE at 1-888-225-5773 .1:26 PM Dec 18th via Facebook
The PSE Twitter account delivered more than 38 tweets during a three-day period of high winds, power outages, and safety issues in their region. Tweets consisted of safety tips, power restoration updates, and city/township effects
The PSE Twitter account currently has 1,965 followers who can receive instant updates on power outages and updates. Links to photos and safety tips are also included.
The PSE Flickr account highlighting storm damage from a recent high-wind weather event. Links from the PSE Twitter account provide links directly to various photos and clean up efforts.
Service Alert updates are created on the PSE corporate website. More thorough tips and updates are provided on an ongoing basis on PSE.com.
The PSE online newsroom also provides updates on news, links to various social media outlets, and PR contact information for the organization. Journalists can also get corporate background information, press kits, and executive biographical information for more detailed stories.
The “Ask Andy” blog is a frequently updated site from a Corporate Affairs Vice President - former local television meteorologist – giving a unique perspective on various industry issues that affect PSE’s customers.
PSE created a Twitter hashtag (#pseoutage) as a way to categorize and filter on all important updates that the communications team sends out. http://search.twitter.com/search?q=%23pseoutage
Citizen Journalists in the Community
Several local people in the community have RT’d the PSE information, providing an even wider reach and distribution. Also, some comments offering words of thanks show the engaging potential of using Twitter for crisis communications.
ruthstoffel: Thank you. Be safe out there Rt @PSETalk: We expect to restore power to tens of thousands of customers throughout Saturday+Sunday #PSEoutage
KING5Seattle: Thanks crews! RT @PSETalk: We expect to restore power to tens of thousands of customers throughout Saturday & Sunday. #PSEoutage
Mainstream Media Picks up the Story
Within hours of the storm, national media had picked up the story from the various social media and news outlets began writing their own coverage.
3500 homes still without power after wind stormSeattle Post Intelligencer - ‎38 minutes ago‎
PSE officials said their crews will continue to work around the clock to restore power. About 12000 Seattle City Light customers also lost electricity ...
TheNewsTribune.com (blog) - Sara Schilling - ‎1 hour ago‎ That area saw gusts of more than 70 mph, downed trees and broken poles, PSE said. Power has been restored to 48000 customers, but about 6000 still are ...
Statesman Journal - ‎10 hours ago‎
PSE spokeswoman MacKenzie McDowell says areas still in the dark are clustered in South King County, around the Enumclaw, Maple Valley and Cumberland areas. ...
Seattle Times - ‎18 hours ago‎
About 27000 Puget Sound Energy (PSE) customers remained without power early Saturday evening, mostly around the Enumclaw, Cumberland and Maple Valley area, ...
Seattle Times - Jim Brunner - ‎19 hours ago‎
PSE spokeswoman MacKenzie McDowell said crews hope to have power restored to most places by Sunday, but some customers could have to wait as long as Tuesday ...
TheNewsTribune.com - Stephanie A. Clark - ‎21 hours ago‎ Approximately 47000 PSE customers are still without power at 207 locations. The majority of the outages are in south King County where the winds were the ...
Seattle Times - Mark Harrison - ‎Dec 18, 2010‎
Power went out in for nearly 100000 PSE customers in about 207 locations scattered throughout PSE's coverage area in King, Pierce and Kitsap counties, ...
Tens of thousands without power after wind stormSeattle Post Intelligencer - Chris Grygiel - ‎Dec 18, 2010‎ PSE crews were responding to emergency situations which include removing trees from power lines, clearing roads of downed power lines and de-energizing ...
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