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Storm Center Put to the Test during Sandy

Posted on October 31st, 2012

iFactor’s Storm Center implementations are being put to the test during the ongoing response to Hurricane Sandy. This is a live blog to capture interesting statistics, links, and information on how our products are being used during this monumental event. The following links provide direct access to implementations in regions impacted by this storm:

[10-31-2012 11:42am] The Google Crisis map on Hurricane Sandy has been extended with links to a wide variety of power outage maps and related utility sites sharing outage status information.

[10-31-2012 12:51pm] A quick review of analytics on Storm Center outage maps from 10/27 – 10/30 shows more than 3,500,000 page visits have been served so far.  A combination of utility data centers and iFactor-hosted solutions are delivering all this content to users. We are seeing a mix of desktop of mobile traffic with mobile running between 20% and 50% of visits across the different properties.

[10-31-2012 1:19pm]  Here are some interesting time-lapse videos showing the arrival of Sandy along the coast in the form of outage maps. Thanks to Alfred Sawatzky for the awesome videos!

[10-31-2012 2:55pm] Here is an article with an interesting infographic on overall power outages from Huffington Post.

[10-31-2012 04:03pm] Several interesting news articles related to power outages and elections. I guess we will add this to the long list of considerations for data sources and points we might work to include in Storm Center 4 next year as we aim to further deliver key information to the public.

Business Insider – How power outages from Sandy could affect Election Day

From the NY Times Blog on Sandy – “New York City has given its poll site list to Con Edison so they can prioritize the restoration of power. After they do the assessment, they’ll determine whether they need to come up with alternate sites.” – quote from John Conklin, a spokesman for the New York State Board of Elections

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett also indicated that he is working with electric companies to ensure that polling places will have power on Election Day.–Superstorm-Pa-Voting

[11-01-12 9:30am] This article has a nice summary of current outage information from The Philadelphia Enquirer (republished here via Intelligent Utility).  It is always interesting to note how newsworthy power outages are on regular blue sky days. During a storm event, the news side becomes all about the numbers. this has always been one of the things I like about interactive, comprehensive outage maps – they can deliver information to the media, emergency operations, government official, and your everyday residential customer who just wants to know when power will be restored for them, their neighbors, and their friends and family.

[11-01-2012 9:50am] This is a nice illustration from LIPA on nested outages, aimed at helping customers understand the complexities of restoration in a major event. While the picture is a good start, I think this topic really needs to be addressed at some wider level if there is any hope of getting understanding on it.  Maybe integrating this into overall outage information returned to customers would help, such as on one of our maps.  I also wonder if the mainstream media could do a better job explaining some of this reality. As Phil Carson alludes to in a post on Intelligent Utility today, perhaps there is a smart grid aspect to this as well – would more grid intelligence provide better information (and enable better operations decisions) around the widespread damage in major events?  And alongside that, can we justify that level of investment if it is only to address a once in a lifetime storm?

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