To meet public power’s need for cybersecurity solutions that are comprehensive and cost effective, Hometown Connections, Inc. has launched a Cybersecurity Management Program for public power electric, gas, water, and wastewater utilities and other city departments. Hometown Connections is helping community-owned organizations across the United States evaluate their cybersecurity requirements, develop plans for cyber risk management, and deploy effective cybersecurity defenses that include ongoing monitoring, training, remediation, and maintenance services.
During the challenging time of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is imperative to understand the thoughts, opinions, and sentiments of your customers so you can better prepare to meet their needs. As we begin to return to a “new normal”, it is important to understand how your utility will operate in the coming months, and how customers will feel about these changes. Use a low-cost digital survey by GreatBlue Research to understand how your residential and commercial customers think about their ability to pay future bills, payment options, disconnect policies, and utility re-opening plans. GreatBlue proposes the use of digital research to effectively and efficiently gather insights from your residential and/or commercial customers. These research findings can then be used to target those customers with immediate needs and/or concerns and provide the best possible assistance.
Understand the cyber threat landscape, learn how to estimate the true financial costs of a cyber crime, and get tips on building your budget and risk management strategies. Register for this two-part webinar series to be held in June 2020 by the American Public Power Association Academy. Speakers include representatives from AESI-US, Inc. and Marsh Wortham Power Gen Insurance, marketing partners of Hometown Connections Inc.
Utilities using Apogee’s ENVOY proactive messaging platform are seeing extraordinary results. The platform’s communication channels include personalized video bill explanations, text, and email messages that inform customers of payment options, financial assistance programs, low and no-cost ways to save, and rate options. What makes the messaging captivating is each message is composed using the customer’s billing history and AMI data, making it personal and relevant to each household. During the COVID-19 crisis, this communications strategy shows customers the utility cares, is helping them reduce energy costs, and identifies ways to manage their financial burden.
For cyber criminals and the organizations they are targeting, it’s the wild west out there. The scourge of COVID-19 is driving workers to log in from home and widening the utility attack surface even further. Community-owned utilities are victims of ransomware and other attacks at an alarming rate. As part of their cybersecurity risk management efforts, utilities should investigate the financial and operational security provided by the cyber liability insurance program from Marsh Wortham Power Gen Insurance through Hometown Connections, Inc.
A visionary leader of public power technology management, Branndon Kelley of American Municipal Power, Inc. (AMP) has joined the Board of Directors of Hometown Connections, Inc. AMP is one of six joint action agencies that co-own Hometown Connections. Mr. Kelley is AMP’s Senior Vice President of Technology & Chief Information Officer and AMP’s representative on the Hometown Board.
Cyber criminals are trying to leverage the COVID-19 emergency by sending out “phishing” attacks that lure internet users to click on malicious links or files. Through emails with phony pledges for health information, hackers are gaining access to sensitive data. AESI-US, Inc. is deploying remote cybersecurity services to help community-owned utilities protect against these dangerous COVID-19 phishing attacks.
Utility markets are seeing substantial changes in load characteristics and energy prices as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. The Energy Authority (TEA) is helping community-owned utilities develop risk management strategies that will offset the current volatility in wholesale energy markets.
Expanding the scope of services offered to public power systems, AESI-US, Inc. is helping municipal utilities maximize the return on their operations technology (OT) investments and optimize operations. AESI’s technical knowledge and real-world utility expertise in IT/OT engineering provides vital support to utility personnel.