September 11, 2015

Texting for Power Outages

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Imagine you are sitting at home, watching TV or baking brownies or finishing up some work on your computer and all of a sudden the TV cuts off, the oven stops heating, and your computer shuts down.  The hum of clothes washing in the laundry room goes away, all the digital clocks are suddenly blank, and the lights all go out.  Your first thought: it’s a power outage.  But what do you do?  How will you know when power will be restored?  How can you know how to plan the rest of your day?  Will this outage be fixed in just a few minutes, or will it take hours?

Text Alerts for Power Outages

Some power companies, understanding this frustration, have turned to texting to help communicate to their customers during these kinds of power outages.  With texting, power companies can update customers on the status of a power outage—letting customers know what progress is being made on fixing the issue, when the power is estimated to be restored, and finally when the outage is fixed.  Customers appreciate being kept in the know, leaving them less frustrated about the unexpected disruption of their routine.

John P. Malloy, vice president for Louisville Gas and Electric Company (LG&E) and Kentucky Utilities Company (KU), says that their texting service “gives [customers] the vital information needed to make decisions during an outage event about things like meals, laundry and other necessary planning for the day or night ahead.”  Customers don’t need to sit in the dark (literally), wondering how to plan the rest of their day.

Another benefit of using text messages in regards to power outages is the ability for customers to give quick feedback.  Customers can easily report a power outage via text message without clogging up the phone lines, allowing for a smoother and less stressful situation for both customers and company employees.

As more and more people transition to texting as a primary means of communication, introducing this kind of service for power companies only makes sense.  Let us know if you have any other ideas or comments about ways that your organization uses text alerts!

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