The Florida Municipal Electric Association (FMEA) was awarded an American Public Power Association Excellence in Public Power Communications Award of Merit in the web and social media category (Class D). FMEA was recognized for their outstanding use of social media to communicate information about hurricane preparation, mutual aid coordination, power outages and power restoration efforts in advance of and following 2017’s Hurricane Irma, which left no Florida public power community, cooperative electric utility or investor-owned utility unscathed. The awards were announced at the American Public Power Association’s Customer Connections Conference in Orlando.
Before the storm, FMEA used social media – Facebook and Twitter – to share important hurricane preparation, public safety tips and updates on the organization’s work lining up mutual aid crews.
During and immediately following the storm, social media was used to provide critical Florida public power and utility-specific updates related to storm impacts, outage updates, power restoration and mutual aid progress. Social media provided a platform for FMEA to express gratitude to the thousands of out-of-state mutual aid lineworkers that helped get Florida restored in the days and weeks following Irma. Once power was fully restored to Florida’s public power communities, FMEA promoted Florida public power lineworkers working to restore power to Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
“The aggressive use of social media before, during and after Hurricane Irma really allowed us to open up new lines of communications with a number of different audiences. Not only were we able to get timely information out about outages and power restoration numbers, we were also able to increase the general public’s understanding of the power restoration process and priorities,” said Amy Zubaly, FMEA Executive Director. “We proudly accept this award and thank the American Public Power Association for bestowing this honor upon us.”
Additionally, the American Public Power Association recognized communications efforts of FMEA members Orlando Utilities Commission, Lakeland Electric, Kissimmee Utility Authority, Beaches Energy Services and Keys Energy in their respective categories and classes. The Florida Municipal Power Agency was also recognized.
The American Public Power Association’s Excellence in Public Power Communications Awards showcase communications efforts that effectively raise awareness of public power. Awards are given in three categories — web and social media; video; print and digital materials.