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LPEA starts new “Outage Hotline”
2/8/2008 By: courtesy LPEA
In the wake of the dramatic weather related power outages of winter 2007-2008, La Plata Electric Association (LPEA) has sought, and implemented, several new methods for informing member/customers of outages, their causes and progress on repairs.
In addition to working closely with established media to disseminate information, LPEA officials have created the “LPEA Outage Hotline” and are utilizing technology through the LPEA web site, www.lpea.coop, www.DurangoDowntown.com/news, and the Pine River Times “Textcaster” service to get the word out free of charge to member/customers.
“One thing we discovered during these major outages is that customers simply weren’t getting the information they wanted and needed in a timely fashion,” said Indiana Reed, LPEA’s marketing communications specialist and public information officer during emergencies. “And they were understandably upset. It’s my job to keep the media informed – and the traditional media has been great – but customers might miss a radio broadcast or specific written report. So we’re going a bit high tech.”
As Reed receives technical information from LPEA Operations, she puts it in layman’s terms and crafts the Outage Hotlines. In addition to being sent to the media, this information is now immediately posted on LPEA’s web site and the DurangoDowntown e-News site.
“People need to be pro-active to get that information, and they may not be,” admitted Reed. “That’s why we’re excited to be part of the Pine River Times Textcaster service.”
Those who sign up for the Textcaster service can receive the “Energy Hotlines” as they are written and disseminated via their cell phone, computer (email), PDA or pager, or through any combination of the aforementioned.
Visit www.pinerivertimes.com and click on the image in the left hand column of the young man “texting.” Registration is simple and offered as a free service by the publication.
“People will note in the message categories the LPEA Outage Hotline button,” said Reed. “Be sure to click on that category. The next step is to keep your cell phone, PDA or laptop computer battery fully charged in case of an outage.”
Reed also noted that in the event of an extremely large outage, such as occurred in early January, the Outage Hotlines will be recorded and placed as audio files on LPEA’s phone answering system, at 247-5786.
“We’ve entered a new age of technology, and we’re working to evolve with it,” said Greg Munro, LPEA CEO. “We hope that by taking advantage of all information dissemination opportunities we have available to us that we can somehow reach our member/customers during significant outages. No one enjoys being out of power, especially during a severe winter such as this. At LPEA we will do our best to keep everyone informed and get the power back on as quickly as possible.”
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