One of the great benefits for utilities using text messaging is the ability to allow utility customers to report outages by simply sending "OUT" or "OUTAGE" into the TextPower system. TextPower recognizes that message as an outage report, finds the account to which the number sending the message is assigned and then forwards that information on to the outage management system (OMS) of the partner provider (Milsoft, DataVoice, SienaTech, etc.).
When the OMS provider receives the message they check their own database and, if the number is assigned to an account, sets up a trouble ticket for the outage in the same way that it would be set up by calling in or using an automated voice function (an IVR). However, the number must be associated with an account or the sender (the utility customer who is reporting the outage) will receive a reply stating "This number does not appear in our records. Please call…".
This can be confusing to the utility because the mobile number has already opted in, either by it being on an uploaded list, texting a keyword into the system or using a signup widget that TextPower provides to the utility. The confusion comes in the difference between an opt-in and an account setup.
There is a distinct difference between a number being opted-in on the TextPower system and the number being setup on the OMS side for outage reporting.
The way that carriers require TextPower to work is that whenever a keyword is texted into our system the user is opted-in. That is a different process and is unrelated to whether Milsoft has associated that phone number with an account and/or location ID. The reason a mobile number receives the "This number does not appear in our records…" message is because the number did not appear in the OMS records until it is associated with an account.
When a utility member texts "OUT" to 85700 TextPower "POSTs" the information to the OMS provider. Therefore two things occur: First, the number is opted into that keyword. Second, we POST (push the information from our server to theirs) the content of the message along with other data (time stamp, phone number, tags, etc.) to the OMS provider.
You can always check to see whether a number is opted in by going to our customer portal and using the Check Opt-In/Force Opt-Out menu item. Just enter the phone number and it will display any keywords that it is opted into and any tags that are associated with that number for those keywords.