Some utilities have told us that one of the reasons they are reluctant to send messages to their customers is fear of violating TCPA regulations. Mainly, the TCPA regulation in question is the one that holds the message sender responsible even if a phone number was disconnected. Fortunately the courts have seen the folly of this regulation and reversed the FCC’s decision about it.
In short, this TCPA regulation is no longer in effect. The DC Court of Appeals reversed this “safe harbor” ruling and made it legal to send text messages of an informational or emergency nature to anyone who has provided you with their mobile number in the normal course of doing business. This would include an application for new service, a credit application, an emergency contact list, etc.
Moreover, mobile users who receive a number that has been reassigned, after the number was disconnected by a previous user, can no longer hold the sender of messages to their number liable under one condition: The sender must offer a clear and simple mechanism for the mobile user to opt-out if they do not want to receive those messages.
Of course, TextPower does offer this opt-out method and adheres to it rigorously. Recipients of a text message simply reply to any text message with STOP, QUIT, CANCEL, END or UNSUBSCRIBE to opt out. In fact, once a number is opted out the only way that it can be opted back in (which is the only way that it can receive any messages from us) is to text a keyword from the mobile device. This is a form of protection for the owner of the mobile number.
The entity that is sending the messages is also protected. The opt-out method prevents an inadvertent sending of messages to a number that has opted out. This means if a utility sends out a text message to a phone number that was previously opted in under a prior owner, the new owner of the number is responsible for indicating they no longer want to receive messages from that sender.
Even if a message is sent to that number in error, however, the sender (utility and/or TextPower), by having the ability to translate any of those opt-out commands into removing that number from service is sufficient to avoid liability.
You can read a detailed account of this court decision and how it affects utilities here: