When a violent storm moves across the United Cooperative Services system, little can often be done to prevent power outages. When wind, hail and tornados wreak havoc on United’s overhead power lines, United employees work hard to restore power as quickly as possible. Here’s a breakdown of how outage calls are handled:
Step One – A Member Calls United.
Depending on what causes the power outage, the employees of United Cooperative Services may or may not know you are out of power. After you check to make sure the outage is not caused by your own equipment, call United right away. Please don’t assume someone else will call; they might be assuming the same thing!
Step Two – Outage Information is Recorded.
Any time you call United to report an outage, it is best to have a bill or your outage magnet with the account number readily available, which will have all the information necessary to efficiently and effectively report the power outage.
When you call United during office hours, a Member Service Representative will take your information and begin record of your power outage in United’s outage management system (OMS). When you call outside of office hours, an automated system will handle your call and you will hear some prompts from the automated system. After pressing “1” to report a power outage, the system will check the telephone number you are calling from via caller ID against the United member database. Having the correct phone numbers on your account(s) provides United the most efficient means to identify your location and begin the restoration process. You can update your phone number through the automated system or by contacting a member service representative during business hours. If you have multiple accounts/meters we will need to know specific account information concerning the location of the outage.
Step Three – Outage Location is Found.
On this system, your outage location can be identified by your telephone number, account number or meter number and once an outage is posted for your account, the status of outages in your area will be checked. You will receive a status message giving you an idea as to whether we are aware of the outage or if we have crews in route to your area. Also, a prediction of what is causing your outage is automatically prepared and as calls come in from other members, the outage predictions are automatically updated.
Step Four – United Crews Are Dispatched.
United personnel use the information displayed on the OMS system to dispatch crews to the appropriate areas in order to restore power as quickly as possible. Depending on the type of storm and related damage, it can sometimes take a few hours to dispatch crews to answer all the calls. If your power has not been restored within two hours of your initial call to United, we suggest you call back to check the status of the outage.
Step Five – Power is Restored.
After the outage is restored, the line crew contacts the office personnel to let them know the status and cause of the power outage, which is then cleared off the OMS system and entered into a historical database. When the call is cleared, United personnel will instruct the automated calling system to call various members to verify the power has been restored.
The OMS system has allowed United to more efficiently keep track of incoming power outage calls and give information to crews to restore power more quickly. Please be patient and follow all directions completely when you are using the automated system to report or check the status of an outage. Also remember to have your account number or meter number when reporting an outage.
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