Outage Reporting: Multiple accounts, meters or location IDs

Many of TextPower's utility customers use our platform in conjunction with their outage management system (OMS) to allow customer members to report power outages by simply texting "out" or "outage" into our system. We integrate with many OMS providers such as Milsoft and DataVoice in way that text messages substitute for time consuming and expensive phone calls.  Customer members no longer need to call in to report an outage, receive the status of a restoration or get informed when power has been restored - it all happens efficiently and with lightning speed (up to 15,000 messages per minute!) that reduces costs and improves satisfaction levels amongst cooperative members.  

Many members have more than one location or meter on their account.  They may have their home, business, barn, well, irrigation system or other locations associated with one cell phone number that is used to send or receive outage reports.  So how does this work?  If there are multiple locations and a member texts in the word "out" how will the OMS know for which meter or location they are reporting the outage?  

It's simple, really… we have created a process along with the OMS providers that starts a simple dialog with the customer member.  If they text "out" and there is more than one location on the account associated with that cell phone number then the OMS tells us to send a text back to them that says, for example:

You have reported an outage and have multiple locations. Please reply 1 for 123 Main St., 2 for 456 Lake Road or 3 for Irrigation equipment.

The customer then replies back with the answer by simply texting "2" and the OMS will interpret that and know that the location of the outage is 456 Lake Road.  The OMS then starts a trouble ticket for that location and the remainder of the process works exactly as if that same customer had called into the outage reporting phone line and verbally said "I have an outage at 456 Lake Road."  The trouble ticket then sends updates, estimated time of restoration, etc., to the member via text, saving the customer from having to call in and saving the utility from having to put members in an answering queue, incur additional costs for phone lines, staff or call centers.

There is no technical limit to the number of locations that a customer can report on their account.  There is only a practical limit as to how many can be sent in a text message.  Aside from that, this is the most efficient and effective way for customers to send and receive outage notifications.  Don't believe us, though - read about your own peers and how they've reduced their call center costs and raised satisfaction levels:

Case Study - New Braunfels Utilities

Case Study - Tideland EMC