ALERT: Before using any of the features of the Kill Switch described below you MUST coordinate with your OMS provider! Many functions of the Kill Switch will impact their system so be sure to advise them of your intention and inform them when you both enable and disable it!
Utilities can be inundated with calls and requests for updates when there's an outage. It's one of the reasons that TextPower's two-way outage notification system is used by more than 175 rural electric cooperatives, municipalities and other entities. Reporting an outage by texting "OUT" through our system, which is then integrated with your Outage Management System (OMS) is vastly more efficient than having people call in and wait on hold to report an outage or get the status of one that's underway.
When integrated with your OMS many things can be done automatically. You can set up the system so that it sends a text to people affected by the outage whenever a refreshed estimated time of restoration (ETOR) is posted on the OMS. You can set it up to send a message to everyone within an area of a predicted outage so that they're aware in advance and don't flood your office with calls. There's much more that can happen automatically but sometimes you just want to put everything on hold because things are happening too fast.
That's where the exclusive TextPower "kill switch" comes in handy (some of our utility customers refer to these functions as "storm mode"). After logging into our portal a few quick clicks will allow you to take several different actions to help you control the flow of information to your members/customers. Here's a screenshot of what that page looks like on our system and an explanation of how it works:
- Login to the portal and select "Kill Switches (Suspend Messaging)" from the Messaging menu.
- All of the function steps are shown in the pale blue highlight at the top of the page. Just follow the steps in order:
- Select a campaign
- Select a keyword
- Select the Kill Switch action you want to enable (details below)
- If the action you select requires a custom reply message enter it into the box labeled "Reply Message" or choose a saved one from the "Canned Responses" list
- IMPORTANT: Click the "Save Changes" button! Until you click this button the action you have selected will not be applied!
The various actions that you can take are divided into two sections: the "Kill Switch Actions" and "Suspend Automated Messaging Switch Status."
For the "Kill Switch Actions"
- TURN OFF KILL SWITCH: No matter what other action has been enabled in the Kill Switch setting this option turns the Kill Switch off and returns all MO processing to normal. Note that turning off the Kill Switch may cause messages to be sent if the option that was previously enabled included sending messages to numbers that sent MOs during the time that the Kill Switch was enabled.
- Receive MO, Respond with Custom Message, NO POST: This action allows the incoming message (the MO) to arrive and responds to the sender with the custom message that is entered in the Reply Message field on the page (after having clicked "Save Changes"). When this action is selected any POST functions, which sends information to another server, typically an OMS, are suspended. No information will be sent to the OMS.
- Receive MO, Respond with Custom Message, Send POST: This action allows the incoming message (the MO) to arrive and responds to the sender with the custom message that is entered in the Reply Message field on the page (after having clicked "Save Changes"). When this action is selected any POST functions, which sends information to another server, typically an OMS, are processed. Even though a custom message is sent in response to the MO a POST will be sent to the OMS containing the content of the MO.
- Receive & Store MO, and, Possibly Respond: This action allows the incoming message to arrive but does not take any action on it at all. The TextPower system will not respond to the MO and it will not POST information to the OMS. All incoming messages are stored in a holding bin and if the sub-action (described below) "Send Reply Message to Incoming and Stored MOs" the messages that have arrived will receive a response when the "TURN OFF KILL SWITCH" function is enabled.
- Send Reply Message to Incoming and Stored MOs (sub-action to Receive & Store MO, and, Possibly Respond): When this sub-action is selected after selecting the Send Reply Message you will be required to enter a message into the Reply Message field when the kill switch is deactivated. This sub-action should be selected only when preparing to deactivate the kill switch. It allows you to send a reply to all MOs that have been received during the period that the kill switch has been activated. If this sub-action is not selected when the TURN OFF KILL SWITCH action is taken all MOs that have been stored during the period while the kill switch was active will be deleted and no action taken on them.
Another action you can take on this page is to create and store "canned" responses for use later. This allows you to carefully craft a number of messages that you may want to use in a response without having to rush through it when the situation is time-sensitive or when personnel are under pressure to do things quickly. Simply enter a message into the Reply Message field and click the "Save as a canned response" checkbox. Then click "Save Changes."
We recommend that you do this while not changing the current position of the kill switch so that the "Save Changes" function only affects the saving of the message as a canned reply.
Later, when you have to enter a message into the Reply Message field you can select one from the "Canned Responses" list and insert it into the Reply Message field.
For the Suspend Automated Messaging Switch:
This set of actions refers to messages that are created and driven by API calls. Those messages typically occur when a utility's OMS is integrated with TextPower's messaging function; there are other API call message drivers but for the Kill Switch functions it will be related to the OMS integration.
This has a simple on/off switch. You can elect to suspend all messages that would be generated by an API call to inform customers of outages, update outage status, inform them of a truck, ETOR changes, etc. Just click the "Suspend Automated Switch ON" button to activate this function. You can set a timer on this function for anywhere from 30 minutes to 12 hours. You can disable it at any time by coming back to this page and clicking the "Suspend Automated Switch OFF" button.
The "MO Kill Switch" is a powerful feature and should be used VERY CAREFULLY.
Above all else be sure to coordinate the use of the Kill Switch with your OMS provider! The Kill Switch affects a lot of different operations that will impact the OMS so coordination is essential.
It will affect the behavior of the system in responding to MOs and in POSTing to the OMS. If you have any questions at all about its use or features please contact our support team at Support@TextPower.com or call 888.818.1808 x2 for technical support.