Business Situation

Peace River Electric Cooperative (PRECO) has sought to provide automatic notifications for their members in the event of outages and emergency situations. With over 40,000 members over 10 Florida counties, PRECO sought an effective way to communicate proactively and easily with their members and to be aware of any outages in a home or a region without putting the impetus of the alert solely on the homeowners or members themselves. PRECO had previously been using emails and phone alerts to communicate outages and other emergency situations with members and staff alike, which proved less effective than the immediacy and reach of a text message.

Solution

TextPower provides a convenient automatic notifications solution through SmartAlerts. TextPower integrates seamlessly with Peace River Electric Cooperative’s outage management system (OMS) and IVR provided by Milsoft to manage all their contacts and members. After integrating TextPower, PRECO uploaded over 27k mobile numbers overnight, meaning they could reach most of their members via text and very few opted out of the service (less than 2% over the past year). In fact, they now have over 28k mobile numbers as members add their mobiles to PRECO’s database so they can also receive the text message alerts.

PRECO also uses their AMI (advanced meter infrastructure) and AMR (automatic meter readings) to receive information about an outage and send alerts via TextPower. Members have the additional opportunity to report outages by texting the word “OUT” to PRECO’s number, which frees up the call center phone lines and reduces the amount of time they have to spend on hold. This lets PRECO know about apparent outages impacting their members before many even know it. During outages, members can check on the status of power restoral by texting “STATUS” to give them peace of mind without having to call or wait.

PRECO utilizes automatic notifications to alert their members and staff alike during hurricanes and other emergencies to ensure that everyone is aware of any potential hazards and outages. PRECO had TextPower text- enable their toll-free number instead of using a shared short code to send and receive text messages, which helps them streamline branding and makes all communication convenient for all their members with a number they already recognize. Over the past year, PRECO has averaged sending over 12,000 texts a month with over 500 monthly incoming texts from members. Members have reacted very favorably to the service with many replies expressing thanks for keeping the member in the loop.

Future Uses

PRECO plans on using TextPower to maintain alerts on key accounts such as schools and hospitals. If there is an outage or an alert that goes to any of these key accounts, the same alert will also go to their corresponding account managers rather than sending it later or not at all. This way, account managers can respond to the needs of their members appropriately and in a more timely manner.

TextPower’s solutions present the perfect opportunity for PRECO to make notifications and communication with their members as simple and timely as possible for everyone.

TextPower

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-waytextnotificationsofoutagestoandfromconsumers
✓ Notify consumers to curtail load in real-time with “Beat the
Peak” alerts
✓ Simplify crew call-outs with text so they get the message if
they cannot answer a phone
✓ Reduce costs and burden on call center or IVR when major
outages occur
✓ Improve collections with real-time disconnect notices via text
✓ Integrate OMS, CIS, and other systems with comprehensive
APIs
✓ Easily integrate text opt-in processes with your website
using TextPower widgets

Peace River Electric Cooperative

Peace River Electric Cooperative is an electric distribution cooperative that serves over 40,000 homes in central Florida. PRECO was founded in 1940 by local residents through the Rural Electrification Administration (REA), as no investor-owned electric utility would serve sparsely populated rural areas. PRECO now maintains approximately 3,500 miles of overhead and underground power lines, and runs as a non- profit. Any net margin of revenue over expenses is credited to members in proportion to their electric use.