Beyond the Tweet: Power Outages Need More Than a Social Media Shoutout

Beyond the Tweet: Power Outages Need More Than a Social Media Shoutout

According to reports the Power Development Department (PDD) in Kashmir does not provide the information about power shutdowns in advance to consumers through newspapers, radio or television.

The department puts such information only on its social media handles. Putting the information on social media accounts is not sufficient as not all people use social media. Even if they use, it is not necessary that they every day visit these handles.

Such information must be properly provided in advance through newspapers and electronic media news bulletins. In Jammu the power shutdown information is sent regularly by the concerned department to the information department, which forwards it to newspapers, and electronic media.

The information is published in newspapers and also used by the local radio and television stations in their news bulletins. Thus the consumers get the intimation in advance about the power curtailment. Reports say that such a practice is not followed in Kashmir by the Power Development Department.

The officials here must take a cue from their counterparts in Jammu, and address the problem. They should look beyond the social media and furnish the information to consumers well in advance through print and electronic media.

Due to lack of information, not only the common consumers get affected but even the business operations suffer during the unannounced power shutdowns. In fact the top civil administration authorities last year had directed the PDD to inform properly in advance the consumers about the unscheduled power cuts.

But it seems that directions are not followed and providing of information remains confined only to social media handles. If PDD in Jammu successfully routes such information through print and electronic media, the officials in Kashmir should have no problem in doing so.

The power development department must make it a routine to inform the consumers about the shutdown through media. These shutdowns are imperative for necessary repair work but timely information about it is equally important.

Since no scheduled power curtailment programme is in force, the consumers should get the information about unscheduled power cuts.

Limitations of Social Media for Outage Alerts:

  • Limited Reach: Not everyone uses social media or checks it regularly. This excludes a significant portion of the population, particularly the elderly or those in areas with poor internet connectivity.
  • Information Overload: Social media feeds can be cluttered, making it easy for important messages like outage alerts to get buried.
  • Accessibility Issues: People with visual impairments or those who rely on text-to-speech technology might struggle to access information presented on social media platforms.

Alternative Communication Channels:

Here are some alternative methods to ensure everyone receives timely and clear information about power cuts:

  • Local Newspapers: Publish outage schedules and updates in local newspapers, ensuring wider reach, especially for those without internet access.
  • Radio Announcements: Utilize community radio stations to broadcast outage information regularly, catering to a wider audience.
  • SMS Alerts (if a system is available): If a reliable system exists, consider sending SMS alerts directly to mobile phones. This can be particularly effective for reaching a large number of people quickly.
  • Designated Information Kiosks: Establish designated kiosks in public areas like town centers or community buildings to display outage schedules and updates.
  • Hotline Numbers: Implement dedicated hotline numbers for specific regions where people can call for the latest outage information.
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