A Year Later: Lessons in Crisis Comms

An important lesson from last week’s cold weather? How far we’ve come since the Big Freeze of ’21! State officials and energy providers heard the public loud and clear and have made upgrades not just to infrastructure, but to their transparency with rate payers and voters.

Pro-Active Communications

Energy providers across the state have moved to a proactive approach. Providers like the Pedernales Electric Cooperative and Austin Energy pre-empted last week’s storm with preparation tips and ways to stay connected during the event.

If there’s a potential crisis on the horizon, providing helpful information in advance can assuage stakeholder concerns if the situation does hit.

Real-Time User-Friendly Updates

Since the event, the Electricity Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) has provided real-time information to consumers in an easy-to-understand fashion. Their new grid information dashboard helps anxious consumers track current energy use, projected use and current energy reserves.

The easy-to-follow graphics and real-time updates help stakeholders feel involved and informed. While not every organization needs a dashboard, providing social media or newsletter updates highlighting important information with easy-to-follow graphics is a great way to build trust with stakeholders.

Consistent and Unified Messaging

As weather radars began to predict plummeting temperatures and increased precipitation last week, Gov. Abbott addressed the state, bringing in experts from the Public Utility Commission (PUC), ERCOT and the Texas Division of Emergency Management to provide updates and prepare Texans for the storm. Texas’ major agencies and State leadership presented a unified front, reiterating consistent messaging. PUC and ERCOT officials offered reassurance, detailing weatherization changes since 2021 and reiterating the predicted demand and supply metrics. The oil and gas industry proactively communicated their supply levels and echoed the Governor’s message. Gov. Abbott followed up with additional press conferences providing updates and reassuring the public.

Everyone sang from the same song sheet and we give the effort an A+.

And now, the best life hack ever from the great American poet Ralph Waldo Emerson:

“Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.”

May you have a serene day!

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