Entergy will begin calling, emailing or texting customers to let them know when their power is out and when it will be restored under a new communications program launched Wednesday in Louisiana.
Entergy began working on the program around two years ago, after surveys showed customers wanted more information when their power is out, said Sheila G. Pounders, Entergy regional customer service manager.
“One lady used this example with me. She said, ‘If I know my power’s out, and I’m on my way home, then I’m going to go swing by and pick up supper somewhere ... because I know my stove’s not on,’ ” Pounders said.
Pounders said Entergy is applying lessons learned from past hurricanes, particularly 2005’s Katrina and Rita.
Many people left the area and didn’t know when to come back, Pounders said. They didn’t know when power would be restored on their street.
Under the new program, Entergy’s 1 million-plus Louisiana customers won’t have to do anything to get outage information. Entergy will send it automatically.
Customers receive a message telling them that Entergy knows about the outage and another when a service person arrives. The second message will also say how long it should take to complete the repair. If more crews are needed, customers receive another message with an update on the estimated time the repairs will take, as well as the cause of the power outage. Finally, customers receive a message when the power has been restored; that message also includes an outage’s cause.
Customers can choose their preferred method of contact by calling (800) 968-8243 and selecting option 5 or texting REG to 368374 from their cellphones. If customers want an email notification, they can go to http://www.entergy.com, click on MyAccount and register their email address.
Customers who don’t want the notifications can be removed from the service by using the same methods.
Pounders said Entergy will not send outage notifications between 10 p.m. and 8 a.m.
Entergy has already rolled out the program in Texas, Pounders said. The utility expects to launch the program in Arkansas and Mississippi over the next two months.