Jan
27

Press Release: Green Mountain Power Offers iFactor-Developed Mobile Apps to Customers

Green Mountain Power (GMP) has released iOS and Android mobile apps developed by utility communications software company iFactor. The apps offer GMP customers access to real-time energy usage, account management, bill payment, and outage information options.

Through the apps, GMP customers can log in to the same accounts they use for GMP’s website, or use the app to create a new account. The app home screen offers customers the option to view billing information, make a payment, look up payment locations, monitor their energy usage, view power outage information, or contact GMP by phone or on social media.

Customers participating in GMP’s ongoing Smart Home pilot program also have access to real-time energy usage information and more control over some of their power usage, thanks to an internet gateway that connects their smart meter and smart plugs to the mobile apps.

The GMP apps were designed through collaboration between iFactor and GMP with the goal of creating mobile apps that would be both valuable and intuitive to customers. Depending on the results of the Smart Home pilot, future updates to the apps could provide real-time energy usage information and appliance control to all of GMP’s customers.

 

About Green Mountain Power

Green Mountain Power serves approximately 265,000 residential and business customers in Vermont and has a vision to be the best small company in America by empowering customers to save money and move to clean energy sources. GMP recognizes the role of electric utilities is changing and is focused on a new way of doing business to meet the needs of customers with integrated services, while continuing to generate clean, cost-effective and reliable power in Vermont. More information at: www.greenmountainpower.com.

About iFactor

iFactor develops software products and delivers complete communication solutions for the utility sector, delivering information to more than 150 million people in North America through deployments at more than 45 utilities. iFactor’s products and solutions enable utilities to leverage connected technologies such as the web, mobile web, and smart phones to interact with their customers. Visit www.ifactorconsulting.com for more information.

 

Contact:

Alison Copeland, iFactor
media@ifactorconsulting.com
480.584.3041

 
 

iFactor has mobile solutions that can help utilities and customers alike to save time and money, quickly access important information and increase productivity. Interested in developing a mobile communications strategy for your utility? Watch our video and contact iFactor to learn more.

 
Jan
22

Press Release: iFactor Adds Photo Reporting to Mobile Apps for Orange and Rockland Utilities Customers

On December 5, utility software developer iFactor released updated iOS and Android mobile apps for Orange and Rockland Utilities, Inc. (O&R). The update included the addition of a first-of-its-kind feature that allows customers to attach photos to power outage reports. The customer-submitted photos are expected to assist the Utility with damage assessments, thereby reducing the amount of time needed to complete repairs and restore power to customers.

The new feature offers customers of O&R and the Utility’s subsidiaries Rockland Electric Company and Pike County Light & Power Co. the opportunity to submit up to two damage photos along with power outage reports. While customers are instructed to stay away from downed power lines and other hazards, it’s anticipated that customers will share photos of damaged electrical equipment, broken utility poles, or overgrown vegetation. These photos will drive additional customer engagement and help utility employees more quickly assess damage to ensure that the correct supplies are sent with the repair crew. To minimize the risk of abuse, the app requires that customers take photos when an outage report is submitted and does not allow customers to upload previously saved images. All photos are then screened by utility employees before they are added to O&R’s Outage Management System.

The O&R apps were originally deployed in July 2013 in order to provide O&R customers with a streamlined process for reporting outages and obtaining account-specific outage information including estimated restoration times, access to the online 24/7 Outage Map, links to O&R social media accounts and one-touch calling to emergency phone numbers.

L: O&R mobile app home screen; R: O&R app power outage report form

L: App Home Screen; R: Power Outage Report Form

L: O&R mobile app outage report confirmation screen with option to add photos; R: O&R mobile app photo taking interface

L: Outage Report Confirmation Screen (with Option to Add Photos); R: Photo Taking Interface

 

About Orange and Rockland

Orange and Rockland Utilities, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Consolidated Edison, Inc., is an electric and gas utility headquartered in Pearl River, NY. O&R and its two utility subsidiaries, Rockland Electric Company and Pike County Light & Power Co., serve a population of approximately 750,000 in seven counties in New York, northern New Jersey, and northeastern Pennsylvania.

About Us

iFactor develops software products and delivers complete communication solutions for the utility sector, delivering information to more than 150 million people in North America through deployments at more than 45 utilities. iFactor’s products and solutions enable utilities to leverage connected technologies such as the web, mobile web, and smart phones to interact with their customers. Visit www.ifactorconsulting.com for more information.

Contact:

Alison Copeland, iFactor Consulting
alison@ifactorconsulting.com
480.584.3041

 
 

iFactor has mobile solutions that can help utilities and customers alike to save time and money, quickly access important information and increase productivity. Interested in developing a mobile communications strategy for your utility? Watch our video and contact iFactor to learn more.

 
Jan
21

Press Release: CIO Review Recognizes iFactor Among “Top 50 Most Promising Utilities Technology Solution Providers”

TEMPE, Arizona (January 21, 2015) – iFactor, a leading customer communication solution provider to the utility industry, announced today that it has been named one of CIO Review magazine’s “Top 50 Most Promising Utilities Technology Solution Providers” of 2014.

The list was selected by a panel of CEOs, CIOs, VCs, analysts, and members of the CIO Review editorial board, and features technology solution providers who are tackling challenges faced by the utility sector. In selecting the solution providers, the panel reviewed each vendor’s capabilities to fulfill the needs of the utility sector through services that support core business processes, both from a provider and consumer perspective.

“It’s an honor to be recognized by CIO Review magazine as one of the ‘Top 50 Most Promising Utilities Technology Solution Providers,’” said Shazir Khan, iFactor CEO. “This recognition reinforces our dedication to providing leading-edge, integrated customer communication solutions for the utility industry. We strongly believe that customer communication will continue to be an area of focus for utilities as they strive to improve customer satisfaction and increase operational efficiencies.”

To read more about iFactor in CIO Review, visit iFactor: Powering Utilities with Connected Technologies.

About iFactor

iFactor develops software products and delivers complete communication solutions for the utility sector, delivering information to more than 150 million people in North America through deployments at more than 45 utilities. iFactor’s products and solutions enable utilities to leverage connected technologies such as the web, mobile web, and smart phones to interact with their customers. Visit www.ifactorconsulting.com for more information.

Contact:
Alison Copeland, iFactor Consulting
alison@ifactorconsulting.com
480.584.3041

###

 
 

iFactor has mobile solutions that can help utilities and customers alike to save time and money, quickly access important information and increase productivity. Interested in developing a mobile communications strategy for your utility? Watch our video and contact iFactor to learn more.

 
Jan
15

Con Edison Provides Greater Transparency to Customers about Gas Leaks with Online Map

On December 17, Con Edison announced the launch of an online map that provides the location of current gas leaks in its service territory along with information about the severity of the leaks. iFactor worked with Con Edison to create the first-of-its-kind map, which is built using iFactor’s EnergySuite Platform.

The gas leaks that are featured on the map are being monitored by Con Edison until they can be scheduled for permanent repair. Often, gas line repairs are scheduled along with other maintenance work due to the expense and inconvenience to customers of shutting off gas flow and excavating streets. The map allows Con Edison to keep customers informed about the ongoing process of maintaining the gas distribution system in their area, including ongoing leak monitoring and repair.

Con Edison gas leak map screenshot with mouseover

While meant to be a source of information for customers, the map is not intended to assist with gas leak reporting. Both on the map and in accompanying materials like the Utility’s gas leak FAQ page, Con Edison urges customers to call 911 or the Utility to report suspected gas leaks. One such statement says, “If you smell gas, we urge you to report it, even if you think it’s already reflected on this map. There could be a new or worsening leak and we need to check it out right away.”

According to Con Edison’s press release about the gas leak map and other measures the Utility is taking to improve its process of monitoring gas leaks, Mark Brownstein, associate vice president of the Environmental Defense Fund said, “Transparency is always the best policy, whether you’re talking about public safety or the environment, and Con Ed is to be commended for taking a national leadership position here.”

 
 

iFactor has mobile solutions that can help utilities and customers alike to save time and money, quickly access important information and increase productivity. Interested in developing a mobile communications strategy for your utility? Watch our video and contact iFactor to learn more.

 
Jan
14

Year in Review: iFactor Identifies Four Utility Customer Communication Trends of 2014

TEMPE, Arizona (January 14, 2015) – Today, utility customer communication solution provider iFactor looks back at 2014 and identifies trends and advancements that utilities have made toward improving customer communications. In 2014, utilities had more engaged customers, offered more self-service tools, provided more transparency into their operations, and provided information to more new audiences than ever before.

As a leading provider of customer communication solutions for the utility sector, iFactor had a front row seat for the happenings. “It’s exciting to see the growth in utility-customer engagement,” said Shazir Khan, President and CEO, iFactor. “Both utilities and their customers have taken on a greater role in information sharing over the last year. We believe that the growth in self-service tools and utility transparency will continue to help improve customer satisfaction for utilities.”

The Customer Communication Trends of 2014 are:

1) Customers were more engaged than ever with their utilities.

  • In 2014, utilities across the country employed iFactor Mobile™ apps to help communicate and engage with customers. Mobile app usage for iFactor clients was at an all-time high, with more than 820,000 active users and 3.3 million mobile app sessions across the 13 iFactor Mobile apps currently deployed.
  • Use of automated alerts by utilities and their customers surged, as utilities launched programs to keep customers informed about everything from power outages to energy usage to monthly utility bills. Nearly 30 utilities representing over 40 million meters across North America utilized iFactor’s Notifi® proactive alert and preference management system in 2014. The system sent out more than 42.5 million messages, including 21 million personalized email messages and 21.5 million text messages. The growth of text messaging communications between utilities and their customers rose sharply in 2014, representing a 48 percent increase over 2013.
  • Customers actively sought information during storms using more than 35 Storm Center™ outage maps developed by iFactor. These outage maps received more than 13 million views over the year. Customers also displayed a strong preference for mobile options, especially during storm events, when up to 80 percent of all visits to the outage maps were from mobile devices.

2) Utilities expanded the self-service tools available to customers.

  • According to Chartwell research, 96 percent of utilities offered an online portal or outage map for viewing outage information in 2014, up from 48 percent just five years ago. In addition, Chartwell found that 12 percent of utilities offered two-way text messaging for customers, allowing them to report outages and/or request information such as balance due or outage updates. According to a study by Booz Allen Hamilton, mobile apps also gained popularity in 2014, with 26 percent of U.S. utilities allowing customers to self-serve using mobile apps.
  • Utilities expanded and adapted their self-service options. A West Coast utility began offering customers access to individual outage alerts, letting customers sign-up to receive status updates about a specific outage displayed on the utility’s outage map without signing up to receive alerts for their utility account.
  • Utilities also added new features to existing self-service tools. For example, one utility operating in the Northeast added photo reporting to their mobile app, allowing customers to be more involved in the damage assessment phase of the restoration process by providing photos of damage they witnessed along with an outage report. Other utilities added the ability for customers to use two-way text messaging keywords to request the balance for their account and pay their bill.

3) Utilities offered customers more transparent information about power outages and gas leaks.

  • Utilities in the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic areas added crew status information to their outage maps and text message alerts, offering customers more visibility into the repair process.
  • A New York utility added unprecedented detail to its outage maps in 2014, allowing customers to see outages at the premise-level. The same utility also rolled out a gas leak map, providing customers a source for information on leaks that are being monitored and those scheduled for repair by the utility.
  • A utility in Chicago debuted a map designed to publicly share information on improvements being made to the grid, including items such as smart switches, reliability improvements, lightning protection and tree trimming.

4) Utilities responded to requests for outage information from new audiences.

  • Utilities operating in New Jersey and elsewhere across the East Coast responded to demands for more information from local stakeholders by offering municipal-level data on their outage maps and through their alert systems. This information included area-specific estimated restoration times and details such as the number of circuits, substations and utility poles affected by outages in each municipality.
  • Responding to a challenge set forth by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy to come up with ways to improve disaster response and recovery efforts, utilities from across the country announced their intent to publish outage data in a standard format for use by first responders, public health officials, utility operations, and mutual assistance crews.

About iFactor

iFactor develops software products and delivers complete communication solutions for the utility sector, delivering information to more than 150 million people in North America through deployments at more than 45 utilities. iFactor products and solutions enable utilities to leverage connected technologies such as the web, mobile web, and smart phones to interact with their customers. Visit www.ifactorconsulting.com/about-us/ for more information.

Contact:
Alison Copeland
media@ifactorconsulting.com
480.584.3041

###

 
 

iFactor has mobile solutions that can help utilities and customers alike to save time and money, quickly access important information and increase productivity. Interested in developing a mobile communications strategy for your utility? Watch our video and contact iFactor to learn more.