July 28, 2011

LG&E and KU go live with iFactor’s smartphone application

LG&E and KU recently implemented the outage communications module of iFactor’s mobile device applications, a suite of reusable software modules that allow utilities to quickly deliver self service solutions to their customers.  The free smartphone app is available on iPhone, Android, and Blackberry devices, and is available in the app store for each specific device.  LG&E and KU are the first utilities in the state of Kentucky (and among a small number of utilities in the nation) to offer near real-time outage information in a free smartphone app. With this new app, customers will have access to the same outage information provided on the LG&E and KU online outage map, Storm Center, which is also powered by iFactor.  Outage data is displayed using an interactive Storm Center map, and summary information by county and zip code is available in a chart format.  Data from the Storm Center site is delivered directly to the app from the utilities’ outage management system, including estimated restoration times once the outage is assessed by field crews. “Our smartphone outage map app is our first entry in a larger mobile communications portfolio that will be progressively introduced to customers,” said Greg Thomas, vice president of Energy Delivery – Distribution Operations for LG&E and KU. “Enabling the public to access and view outage information on the go is just another way we are working to enhance our customers’ experiences with us.” LG&E and KU are currently developing several other mobile communications offerings, including two-way SMS texting, email and phone outage notifications, and in-app alerts.