Metallic balloons and power lines don’t mix

Metallic balloons and power lines don’t mix

Stray Mylar balloons entangled in overhead lines in the last week caused two electric outages for hundreds of College Station residents. Such disruptions can cover a large area for two hours or more while we clear the balloons and repair damaged equipment. Outages not only inconvenience our customers, but they also jeopardize public safety and cause lost revenue for businesses. Never allow those shiny, helium-filled foil balloons to be released outside. Continue reading Metallic balloons and power lines don’t mix

Your account number is the key when reporting an outage

2013 Hotline Sticker-2

Since College Station Utilities implemented its new outage hotline in March, our customers have given us many ideas to improve the system. As a result, we’ve continually made adjustments, including changes to the recording you hear when you dial-in an outage.

In recent outages, the hotline number and our Outage Management System have proven to be valuable tools, and the outage map has been especially useful in providing our customers with real-time information.

The storm on Oct. 13 was the most severe we’ve seen in a long time. From 3 a.m. to midnight, we received more than 2,000 calls. Unfortunately, almost half of those calls were not identified by the system because callers didn’t enter their account number, were calling from a phone the system couldn’t recognize, or went straight to leaving a message.

The system automatically grouped calls and predicted outage sizes and locations for the calls that went directly into the system. The other calls had to be handled manually, which took time away from tending to the outage and directing crews.

Under our old system — which had only 14 lines – we would have had a lot of busy signals and dropped calls. We certainly wouldn’t have responded as effectively as we did on Oct. 13. We are constantly striving to improve the system, and the key is to encourage you to use your account number when reporting an outage.

Continue reading “Your account number is the key when reporting an outage”

CSU’s new hotline will mean no more busy signals

2013 Hotline Sticker-2Unfortunately, power and water outages happen. When they do, it’s important for College Station Utilities customers to let us know promptly. If you simply assume your neighbor has already reported it, service restoration may be delayed. Your timely report also helps us determine the size of the outage.

Of course, you may be one of the many customers who have tried to call our emergency number but received nothing but a busy signal — if you weren’t dropped completely. When your lights are out, it can be a highly frustrating experience. Thankfully, those days will soon be history.

Continue reading “CSU’s new hotline will mean no more busy signals”