Tampa Electric and Peoples Gas team members’ help NSTAR customers affected by Winter Storm Nemo

“It was a pleasure to work with the media,” said Ta’shaney Barber, senior lead CSP, seen here being interviewed by Bay News 9. “We have to help other communities that need it, and tools like MARS give us the opportunity to do that.”

“It was a pleasure to work with the media,” said Ta’shaney Barber, senior lead CSP, seen here being interviewed by Bay News 9. “We have to help other communities that need it, and tools like MARS give us the opportunity to do that.”

When team members gave their best to help far-away communities deal with power outages from Winter Storm Nemo, Tampa Bay was there to watch.

The bright lights of the Tampa Bay area news media spotlighted the Ybor call center Feb. 9 and 10 as our customer service professionals (CSPs) helped 250,000 customers of Massachusetts-based NSTAR through the mutual assistance routing system, or MARS.

With MARS, CSPs at one utility access customer information of another utility in the midst of a major event, such as widespread outages. As Nemo whipped winds and dumped several feet of snow across the Northeast, Bay News 9, WFTS ABC Action News and WTSP Channel 10 set up cameras in the calm of our call center to tape our CSPs helping customers of NSTAR.

Rachel Roman, manager of Business Systems with Customer Service, declared the MARS activation a success.

“Everyone did such a great job; it was a true team effort,” Roman said. “The media was a new twist. Having three stations on the floor interviewing and getting shots was a first for us.”

This isn’t to say CSPs didn’t have challenges to surmount.

“Our Tampa Electric and Peoples Gas CSPs often commented on how different it was assisting a customer that was snowed in,” said Tina Mary, manager of Customer Care. “Quite a few of the reps admitted to never having seen snow before or having experienced such cold temperatures.”

For Scott Powers, metrics support analyst with Development Services, working with MARS was more than just using technology to help NSTAR’s customers deal with the historic storm. He and other team members connected with their counterparts at the northeastern utiliy, sympathizing with their plight. 

“For those of us on the conference call each day, we would inevitably be asked, ‘So how is it there in Tampa?’” Powers said. “Knowing the requesting and other supporting utilities all were either in cold conditions or had several feet of snow, there almost was a feeling of guilt to answer, ’We’re sunny and should be in the 80s today.’”

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