|New Outage Management and Phone Systems Coming in January
On January 19, South Central Power Company will implement two new systems designed to help members provide, and receive, information about power outages.
The search for a new outage management system (OMS) began in 2015 as part of the cooperative's 5-year strategic plan. After an exhaustive search, a program was selected that will stream line the process of assessing outage situations, dispatching crews to make repairs and communicating with members about outages affecting their locations. As part of the new OMS, the cooperative decided to implement a new telephone call handling system to help members more efficiently report their outage and allow South Central Power to more effectively provide information about outages when members call.
"The most noticeable change for members will be the changes to the telephone system. When calling, members will hear 4 options: report an outage, get account information or make a bill payment, update telephone numbers or all other inquiries, " said Cathy Bitler, vice president of Member Service and Community Relations. The first three options hold the calls in an automated system. Members will be able to report their outage by using a telephone number. Other options will require that members enter their account numbers. Those reporting an outage will be told whether the cooperative is already aware of the outage, whether crews have been dispatched, if crews are working in the area and if there is an estimated time for restoration of service.
While the implementation process is underway, members will not have access to Outage Watch through the cooperative's website. "Outage Watch will be unavailable for a short time - we hope no more than a couple of weeks," said Bitler, while a new system, connected to the OMS, is completed. Once that happens, Outage Watch will return to the website albeit with a new look and more information to help members get a picture of what's happening with their outage.
"Our members have told us repeatedly that they want more information about their outage - do we know about it, is a crew working on it and when will power be restored", said Bitler. "The new OMS and telephone system will help us better provide that information."