Los Angeles DWP Launches Power Outage Notification System

July 03, 2019

By Erik Linask - Group Editorial Director

Aside from the inconvenience of not being able to use powered equipment – everything from home electronics to business systems to air conditioning and medical equipment – perhaps the biggest issue utility customers have is communication.  They want to know when power will be restored and, depending on the time of an outage, it could be very useful to know that power has been lost.  That includes residential customers who may be at work during the day, or businesses that lose power during non-work hours.

Understanding that, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power is trying to increase the communication with its customers.  To create a more chain of information, LADWP has launched a new power outage notification system that notifies customers via text message of outages reported in their areas.  The system will also be used to keep customers updated on restoration estimates.

With a diverse population base, customers can choose between receiving alerts in English or Spanish, and are able to sign up for alerts for up to three neighborhoods.  This means business owners are able to get updates for their home and business locations, and residents are able to receive outage notifications that impact their family members.

“Last July, Los Angeles experienced extreme heat coupled with record-breaking electricity demand that resulted in prolonged power outages,” said LADWP General Manager David Wright.  “That experience brought home the need for a message alert system to better inform customers of the status of outages.”

For residents with elderly parents, for instance, this is particularly important if power – and cooling – goes out during the hot summer months, or if family members rely on powered medical equipment for their well-being.

Likewise, business owners are able to ensure the safety of their business systems and go to their offices to power down any critical servers, switches, or other equipment that might be damaged by a power surge when service is restored.  Those businesses that have wisely installed power protection systems with remote management features can even manually shut down systems from mobile devices while they are still running on UPS power, ensuring no data is lost or corrupted.  These businesses also have no concern that irregularities in line voltage, which are common when outages occur, damage any of their connected systems, thanks to the power regulating features their systems.

In addition, business owners are able to inform employees of power outages to avoid them having to commute to work unnecessarily.  For those companies that have migrated to cloud-based business applications and services, this means staff can be productive from home, assuming outages don’t also impact them.

Edited by Erik Linask