Horry Electric Cooperative’s outage reporting system, known as PowerTouch, has a proven track record. “It’s another example of how we’re looking out for our members,” says Kevin Jordan, distribution engineer for Horry Electric.
PowerTouch is tied to the mapping and customer information systems at Horry Electric. “This is a tremendous advantage when it comes to pinpointing the exact location of problems on the system, “says Jordan. “But, the effectiveness of it depends entirely on the accuracy of the contact information we have for our members in the PowerTouch system.”
Telephone numbers are the key. That’s why the cooperative periodically publishes a reminder for members to update their records in South Carolina Living Magazine. “There’s one in this month’s edition,” says Jordan. “Keeping the records as accurate as possible is an ongoing process.”
Members who attend the Annual Meeting of Members on April 12 will get to see first-hand how their phone number connects them to the cooperative. “Our engineering and information technology groups at the cooperative have teamed up to feature this technology, as well as our metering technology in the exhibit area so members can get a chance to not only see, but also better understand exactly how it benefits them,” says Reed Cooper, manager of engineering. “The two departments work closely together to support technologies that provide cost and service benefits to our members. ”
“Our initial goal for investing in the outage reporting system was to improve efficiency and the service we offer to our members, but there’s much more the system does to help us communicate with members,” says Jordan.
The cooperative also uses the system to let members know when a planned outage is scheduled. A planned outage is when service has to be interrupted for system upgrades or maintenance. “We realize that these planned outages are inconvenient, but they are necessary for crews to work safely and quickly,” says Jordan. “We try to let affected members know when a planned outage is scheduled and PowerTouch does that for us.” Notification is made by phone to members directly affected by an outage at least once in advance of the planned outage. Notification includes the time and location; description of the project and the expected total length of time of the outage.
“Yet another benefit of the system is notification to members who have, for one reason or another, forgotten to make a payment on their electric bill,” says Cooper. “We send reminders by mail, but with PowerTouch, we’re able to make one last attempt to get payment on an account before we have to send someone out to disconnect the service,” he explains, adding that making a payment before disconnection helps a member avoid reconnect fees, plus any additional deposits that may be required on the account.
For details on how PowerTouch works, visit horryelectric.com, where you’ll also find a complete guide to power outages. To report an outage using PowerTouch, simply dial 843.369.2212 and follow the prompts. Before reporting an outage, be sure to check fuses or circuit breakers to verify they aren’t the source of the problem.
NOTE: Telephone numbers and other information in the cooperative’s records are used only for business purposes by the cooperative.