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Make Sure Your Utility’s Skeleton Crew is Prepared for the Worst

Skeletons are more commonly associated with Halloween, but they also come into play between Christmas and New Year’s Day.

How so?

Given the number of people on vacation, it’s likely your public relations team (not to mention numerous other departments at your utility) will be working with a skeleton crew.

In all probability, that’s fine. The last week of the year is usually a light one in terms of news, so there likely won’t be a whole lot to do except maybe get a head start on your 2018 PR program (and even then, the media will have skeleton crews, too, and won’t be paying much attention).

Yet now is not a time to let things slide because during the slowest news periods of the year – the week between Christmas and New Year’s and the last two weeks of August, to name two – things have a tendency to blow up.

Remember that we are in winter now, so a major storm could come along and knock out power. Or some unexpected piece of bad news may find its way to the media; since there’s little other news, your misfortunate may get more play than it would normally warrant.

That means whoever is minding your utility’s PR fort needs to be prepared.

If your regular PR representatives aren’t available, make certain that there’s a designated person in place who has access to media lists, your outside PR firm (if you employ one), as well as a way to contact a superior on vacation.

That designated person should be familiar with the normal public relations procedure your utility uses and follow that plan fairly rigidly.

Most likely the PR crisis will be something weather related, so it shouldn’t be too difficult for the backup team to effectively respond to press queries. That said, have your team review prior weather-related responses in advance so it’ll know what to expect.

The week will pass without incident, but a little preparation can prevent headaches if the unexpected occurs.

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