South Central Power Uses Social Media For General Info, Text Messaging For Outages And Alerts
South Central Power, like many other utilities, uses a variety of tools including social media to communicate with their members. At one time they had utilized an in-house solution that would allow them to send texts but there was limited integration with the OMS with no way for customers to send messages into the system for reporting outages or receive status updates. The Ohio-based electric cooperative wanted a way to advance their use of text messaging in order to reduce call center load and improve customer satisfaction.
Utility Discourages Members From Reporting Outages Via Social Media
Cathy Bitler, South Central Power’s Vice President of Communications and Community Relations, was aware of TextPower and saw an opportunity to integrate its text messaging capabilities to allow members to report outages via text messaging. Based on their experience South Central Power does not recommend using social media for reporting outages. They post general outage information through social media such as Twitter and Facebook but recognize that customer reporting of outages that way is problematic. “Information posted on Facebook and Twitter isn’t private so, for their own protection, we don’t necessarily want customers to tell us that the power is out at 123 East Main Street,” said Bitler. The advantage with reporting outages via text messaging instead of social media is that “it’s more like a one-on-one conversation with the member. It’s more personal.”
TextPower’s Outage Reporting System (ORSTM) allows South Central Power to receive outage notifications that initiate trouble tickets by customers simply texting the word “out” into the TextPower system. TextPower is fully integrated with SCP’s OMS provider, Milsoft (a TextPower Trusted PartnerTM) allowing the company to send status updates via text when a truck is rolled to the area for a repair, when power is restored and when other definable conditions occur.
South Central Power uses the TextPower system proactively as well, sending text messages to customers when the power is out, in many cases prior to them even knowing about the outage. Customers appreciate the notification because they may be at work and being informed about outages at their home helps them plan appropriately for eating or sleeping arrangements.
Customers have responded very positively to the service and the management of South Central Power has equally positive things to say about TextPower’s services and on-boarding process. Bitler states that, “The folks at TextPower have been very responsive. The sign-up and on-boarding processes were very easy. I really just can’t say enough about how great the folks at TextPower have been to work with.”
TextPower provides text messaging (SMS) solutions for mission- critical applications ranging from immediate communications with customers/staff to high security authentication of users. Our SmartAlertsTM platform provides utilities with tools that allow them to:
✓2-way text notifications of outages from/to consumers ✓Notify consumers to curtail load in real-time with “Beat The
✓Simplify crew call-outs with text so they get the message
when they cannot answer a phone
✓Reduce costs and burden on call center or IVR when major
✓Improve collections with real-time disconnect notices via text ✓Integrate OMS, CIS and other systems with our
✓Easily integrate text opt-in processes with your
website using TextPower widgets
South Central Power
South Central Power Company is a member-owned electric cooperative serving over 117,000 residential, commercial and industrial customers along more than 11,000 miles of line in 24 Ohio counties. The Cooperative is a private enterprise owned and operated by the people it serves. The members elect an 11- member Board of Trustees that govern the co-op. In 1959, South Central and the other electric distribution cooperatives in Ohio formed Buckeye Power Inc. as a non-profit generation and transmission cooperative. This process guaranteed a source of affordable power for cooperative members. Today, Buckeye Power owns more than 2250 megawatts of power generation capacity fueled by coal and natural gas and another 100 megawatts of renewable power generation from solar, wind, hydro and bio-digester projects.