April 21, 2016

Updates to Oncor Outage Communication Tools Expand Customer Options

Most of our utility clients handle both distribution and retail of electricity in their service areas – one exception is Oncor, which handles distribution of electricity but is not a retailer. This puts Oncor in an interesting position when considering customer communication, as customers do not deal with Oncor about billing, but do need to get power outage information from Oncor.

Oncor does not have a full customer portal on its website, and until recently provided text message outage alerts and handled all registrations for outage alerts via two-way text messaging. When Oncor decided to expand its outage alert platform to add email and voice channels and to provide alerts in both English and Spanish, the company recognized a need to develop an interface for customers to register for alerts and manage alert preferences.

Oncor outage map with location info panel
Oncor’s outage map

Customers accessing the Oncor power outage map can click the Report an Outage button at the top of the map to report a power outage at their address. As an optional last step in the outage reporting process, they can now sign up to receive updates via text message, voice message, or email and set Do Not Disturb times for each contact.

Oncor Outage Reporting and Status tool - Verify address step
The outage reporting and status tool asks for identifying information and asks the customer to confirm the address where the outage is occurring.

 

Oncor Outage Reporting and Status tool - Report an outage step
The customer can report either a full outage or a partial outage, and has the option to enter a phone number in case Oncor needs to call for additional information about the outage.

 

Oncor Outage Reporting and Status tool - Updates for outage alert contacts and preferences
After completing an outage report, the customer can add contacts and manage outage alert preferences.

Customers can also manage their outage alert preferences by following a link from the My Oncor Alerts page on the Oncor website.

My Oncor Alerts - Outage alert preference management - Locate account step
The preferences interface on the My Oncor Alerts page asks for account information, but does not include the outage reporting screen before allowing the customer to update contact information for outage alerts.

The power outage map, the outage reporting and status tool, and the preference management interface are all available in both English and Spanish. Customers using the Spanish interface to sign up for outage alerts will automatically receive alerts in Spanish.

The admin console for the power outage map and alerts system allows Oncor administrators to switch between sending outage alerts to all affected customers and only sending alerts to affected customers who also reported the outage to Oncor. This gives Oncor the option to adjust its automated outage communication to customers to match operational situations.

Oncor has been using our Storm Center™ power outage map and Notifi® alerts and preference management platform since 2012. The recently completed updates are the latest example of a relationship that provides proactive outage information to Oncor’s customers on a variety of communication channels.

About Oncor

Oncor Electric Delivery Company LLC (Oncor) is a regulated electricity distribution and transmission business that uses superior asset management skills to provide reliable electricity delivery to consumers. Oncor operates the largest distribution and transmission system in Texas, delivering power to more than 3.3 million homes and businesses and operating more than 121,000 miles of transmission and distribution lines in Texas. While Oncor is owned by a limited number of investors (including majority owner Energy Future Holdings Corp.), Oncor is managed by its Board of Directors, which is comprised of a majority of independent directors.