We had another power failure at The Home Office this morning. The power failed at about 10:30am and was off for about 90 minutes. The uninterruptible power supplies we installed to keep our VOiP lines running worked well again.
I want to briefly mention the good experience I had with PECO's gas and electric emergency reporting system. PECO is the local utility in the Philadelphia area that's owned by Excelon.
I called the emergency number, navigated through the voice prompts using Touch Tones, reported that I was experiencing a complete power outage, and dialed in the phone number where I could be reached for futher information. The system told me that I could call back later for a status report, if I wanted.
I called back about 45 minutes later. The emergency reporting system used Caller ID to recognize that I was calling back, and proceeded to give a status report. The system said that:
- the outage was affecting about 3,500 customers
- the cause had been identified
- a crew had been dispatched to repair the problem
- restoration was expected by 12:00 noon.
The power came back on at about 11:55am.
About 40 minutes after the power came back I received an automated call from the system. It told me that power had been restored in my area, and asked me to press "1" if I still didn't have power.
This is an example of an automated system that works. I had the option whenever I called PECO to switch out of the automated system and speak to a human being, but I didn't need to.
I think that this system is a huge improvement over previous mechanisms for reporting and assessing the scope of power outages. I hope that all utility companies are implementing automated response systems for this purpose, if they havent already.