A Smart Cure for Power Outages
Power outages are disruptive. When the power goes out, it can bring your daily routine (and sometimes traffic!) to a grinding halt. Longer outages can be dangerous and stressful; the last thing you want is to be left in the dark by your utility.
Until the rise of Wi-Fi and mobile technology, utilities had very limited resources to pinpoint problem areas or update effected costumers. Today, these capabilities are increasingly being employed by utilities to give you outage updates ASAP. New programs include options for outage alerts (beyond a phone call), progress updates and safety tips. Staying in-the-know limits frustration and danger when you’re weathering an outage.
Examples of Utility Outage Programs
Georgia Power: Services include an interactive outage map, outage alerts for your phone, computer or tablet. These alerts arrive within 10 minutes of an outage and can be sent to up to 10 people per household, letting you notify babysitters etc. Alerts include estimated restoral time and what caused the outage. You can also report an outage using the Georgia Power website.
DTE Energy: DTE Energy’s site allows customers to report partial and complete outages and check frequently updated restoration status. They also provide information and resources on how the power restoration process as well as information about what leads to outages.
First Energy Corp.: FirstEnergy is using technology to speed up assessments and restoration, developing two mobile apps that work on the utility-side of outage-information info to expedite their response. This investment has led to increased public safety and customer satisfaction.
Many utilities have similar programs, or are in the process of developing them. Considering that, on any given day, the equivalent of 500,000 people in the Unites States are without power for 2 hours or more, it seems that reliability is still a critical concern. The smart grid helped avoid hundreds of thousands of outages in 2015 alone.
As we continue to upgrade both our infrastructure and the customer-utility experience, we move closer to a reliable, self-healing grid. You can learn more about how the smart grid keeps your power on and gets it restored quickly when it goes out through this fact sheet. Smart grid is helping to enable the reliability we have come to expect for the future.