“Some power outages could linger for days after windstorm slams Seattle Area”

  • The Seattle Times January 6th, 2019

“Winter Storm Warning Continues; Power Outages Reported”

  • KTVN January 7, 2019

“California Storm Brings Power Outages, Shuts Down Highway”

  • S. News & World Report January 8th, 2019

These headlines were the top three results when I did a google search of “winter weather-related power outages” today on January 8th, 2019. One power outage each of the last three days around the country. So what? One might ask. Winter weather and power outages aren’t exactly worthy of a breaking news alert on CNN. While these storms might not make national news the aggregate effect of these smaller weather events make a large impact on the financial impact of utilities and businesses. According to a recent report by IBM there were more than 330 catastrophic weather events in 2017. 31 of those events each caused more than 1 billion dollars in damages. With these types of outages happening almost every single day it is imperative that utilities take action to reduce the potential disruption for their customers and their businesses. Better weather-related data can provide insights that improves customer engagement, planning, and even restoration times.

While customers certainly understand that their utilities can’t control the weather, it is important to foster positive customer engagement around weather-induced outages through proactive communications. Using data to develop prescriptive insights can make the utility a champion in times that would have previously been a crisis. In the IBM study on how weather data impacts the financial health of businesses, 1000 global executives shared their perspectives on the impacts on revenue.

When the lights aren’t on because of weather neither the utility or their customers are making money. While storm outages clearly have a negative impact on the bottom line, IBM found that data-based planning around weather could enable businesses to actually realize revenue growth. Creating an accurate forecast gives utilities the opportunity to serve as consultants to their C&I customers as they collaboratively work to maximize operational profitability.

The “Just Add Weather: How weather insights can grow your bottom line” report was compiled by IBM in cooperation with Oxford Economics. The IBM Institute for Business Value surveyed 1,000 C-level executives representing 13 industries and 15 countries, including 250 from North America, 50 from Latin America, 200 from Western Europe, 150 from the Nordics, 100 from Australia and New Zealand, 100 each from Japan and India, and 50 from China. Respondents were asked a series of questions about how weather impacts their organizations, the potential they say exists by improving weather-related insights, and challenges they encounter in gaining weather-related insights. IBM shared the findings of their study with Zpryme.