David Pequeno, recognized by CNP for developing “Power Alert Services” tool
Wise Men consultant, David Pequeno recognized for the contribution in developing “Power Alert Service” with the CNP’s team.
“Power Alert Service” is a free tool that notifies customers about power interruptions at or near their home or business address and keeps them informed during the outage event.
Small team’s innovative spark led to Power Alert Service
The team that got Power Alert Service up and running included, from left, Marco Ramos, contractor David Fimble, Wade Vanderford, contractor David Pequeno, and Bob Frazier.
CNP’s Power Alert Service continues to draw praise from customers, and no one is enjoying the success more than the team that created it.
“It has been a great feeling for our small group to work so long on something and see it become successful for the company,” said Bob Frazier, senior director of Houston Electric Technology.
Power Alert Service, currently serving more than 400,000 registered electric customers in the Greater Houston area, is a free tool that notifies customers about power interruptions at or near their home or business address and keeps them informed during the outage event. Notifications start when CNP believes a power outage has occurred, and they continue until the power has been restored.
Hard work leads to happy customers
Lee Doehring, Customer Service operations support manager, said surveys show strong customer approval of Power Alert Service, with about 80 percent saying they were satisfied or extremely satisfied. He credits CNP electric field operations and distribution crews, saying they have worked hard to respond to outages quickly and ensure that notifications and estimated restoration times are accurate.
“Bob’s team was visionary,” Doehring said. “They devised this system to work and grow with technology that was both in production and in development. They built a solid program that is unique among all other utilities.”
Doehring said more customers are being enrolled in Power Alert Service daily, and the company plans for all eligible customers in CNP’s electric service territory to have access to it in 2015. Since its launch in summer 2013 as an employee pilot program, Power Alert Service has undergone a number of updates as the team works to enhance it.
“We’re going to continually work to make this system better,” Doehring said.
Putting smart grid data to work
Frazier began devising the service in 2010. It uses data collected through CNP’s smart grid technology to pinpoint the addresses affected by power outages and notify those customers through their choice of email, text and/or phone call. Since it went into service, new features include status updates once repair crews have assessed the situation, as well as information about what caused the outage once power has been restored.
“I believed we could create this service for a reasonable cost,” Frazier said. “John Slanina (now division senior vice president of Electric Operations) and I went to Scott Prochazka, who was then division president of Houston Electric, with just one page showing how we could do this, and he saw the potential.”
Big job for a small team
Frazier’s team included Wade Vanderford, senior business analyst; Albert Lopez, Advanced Metering System manager; Marco Ramos,Information Technology lead programmer analyst; Juan Briseno, from Customer Service program development; and contract employees David Fimble and David Pequeno.
“We designed a compact system that used features of six existing systems within the company, so there was no need to create anything from scratch,” Frazier said. “There were many non-programming challenges, from procedural changes in the field to legal issues. We rolled it out slowly, starting with employees. Then we expanded it to ‘friendlies’ – friends and relatives of employees – and we surveyed them extensively to iron everything out before taking it to the general public.
“Lee Doehring became the system champion,” Frazier said. “He identified some excellent enhancements, like alerting electric customers about a pending issue in their area, such as an approaching storm, that could impact our estimated restoration of power time.”
An upcoming Customer One enhancement will enhance Power Alert Service by increasing the number of people a customer can have notified during an event. Power Alert Service is the first proactive, electronic communication tool to alert electric customers about service-related issues. It eventually will become CNP’s primary way of delivering operational messages to customers.
Customers can sign up through a simple process online.
About CenterPoint Energy, Inc.
CenterPoint Energy, Inc., headquartered in Houston, Texas, is a domestic energy delivery company that includes electric transmission & distribution, natural gas distribution and competitive natural gas sales and services operations. The company serves more than five million metered customers primarily in Arkansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Oklahoma, and Texas. The company also owns a 58.3 percent limited partner interest in Enable Midstream Partners it jointly controls with OGE Energy Corp. with operations in major natural gas and liquids-rich producing areas of Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas and Louisiana. With more than 8,700 employees, CenterPoint Energy and its predecessor companies have been in business for more than 135 years. For more information, visit the website at www.CenterPointEnergy.com.
About Wise Men
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