Save a Life. Post Downed Wires on Social Media.

Companies from Southwest Airlines to Verizon are utilizing social media to communicate with customers, fix problems, and inevitably, do damage control.  It’s a quick, easy, and cheap way to keep a pulse on what’s going on in the community & find out what customers care about.

So what if utilities did the same?  What if they used Twitter and Facebook to monitor for downed power lines or outages?   They could find – and fix – any issues, before someone is injured or killed.

Utilities currently wait for customers to call them and report downed wires, outages, or dangerous infrastructure.  But in today’s fast-changing media landscape, that’s an outdated model that’s resulting in unnecessary injuries and deaths.

We need to be proactive in identifying these dangerous situations.  We should be using every tool at our disposal – from drones to machine learning to social media- in order to save lives.

This isn’t an academic conversation; in one recent and tragic example, a 12-year-old girl from Detroit was killed while playing in her neighborhood.  In this case, an inactive power line became energized when it fell across a live distribution wire.  In the weeks before her death, there were reports of downed wires in the area, but this was not fixed.  What if someone had reported this on social media & the utility had repaired the wire?  That is our hope with this post.

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