PPL Electric Utilities’ proactive outage alerts, introduced last year to better inform customers and improve service, have been honored in a major industry awards competition.
POWERGRID International magazine has chosen PPL’s outage alerts as its Customer Engagement Project of the Year. The utility received the award at the magazine’s annual DistribuTECH conference in Orlando, Fla., the electric industry’s largest transmission and distribution conference in North America. The awards are open to utilities from across North America.
Christopher Cardenas, Customer Services vice president, said:
“Our proactive outage alerts have received a strong positive response from customers, and we appreciate this industry recognition as well. We continue to look for ways to improve our service, keep customers informed, and make doing business with PPL as convenient as possible.”
Last April, the utility began proactively sending the alerts to residential customers whenever they have a power outage, to keep them up to date. The alerts tell customers the scope of their outage, and provide estimated restoration times and repair updates when available. Customers also receive an alert after the outage ends.
Customer survey data indicates that nearly 8 in 10 customers are satisfied with the outage alerts, and roughly half say the alerts improved their opinion of PPL.
Customers can choose to receive the outage alerts via email, text message, phone or a combination. They can also set “quiet hours” when they do not want to receive alerts, and can opt out of the program if desired. Alert preferences can be set and managed at pplelectric.com/alerts.
In related efforts to better serve customers, PPL Electric Utilities also revamped and improved its online outage map, as another way to share information on repair progress and restoration estimates.
While the company is working harder to share outage information with customers, it’s also significantly reducing the number of outages. System improvements such as tree trimming, installing smart grid technology, and upgrading poles and wires prevented about 410,000 outages last year. The average customer is experiencing 30 percent fewer outages than in 2007, and the utility is aiming for a further 15 percent improvement in the coming years.
PPL Electric Utilities provides electric delivery service to more than 1.4 million homes and businesses in Pennsylvania and ranks among the best utility companies in the country for customer service and reliability. With 2,300 employees, PPL Electric Utilities is a major employer in the communities it serves.