Is your electricity out? Hawaiian Electric Co. has a new hotline for that. 

The utility’s new automated reporting system is capable of handling thousands of phone calls at the same time and is expected to alleviate past customer frustration at not being able to get through to HECO. 

From a HECO press release: 

To report an outage, customers should call the new Hawaiian Electric Trouble Line toll free at  1-855-304-1212. The number may be used 24 hours a day to report outages, downed power lines, or other problems with electric service.

 

Hawaiian Electric’s previous outage reporting number, 548-7961, will remain active for the time being to allow customers to transition to the new number. Customers who use this number will also be connected to the new automated system.

 

The new automated system was developed by Twenty First Century Communications, the leading provider of outage reporting services in our industry, and is used by utilities serving 70 percent of households in the U.S.

 

The automated system will recognize the caller’s telephone number and use it to identify an address and create an outage report.  Hawaiian Electric will then immediately use this information to help diagnose the problem and direct troubleshooters and work crews to restore service. If the telephone number is not in Hawaiian Electric’s records, the customer may instead enter his or her account number.

 

Customers who have not contacted Hawaiian Electric in a while, or have changed or added phone numbers, are encouraged to call the company’s Customer Service Center at 548-7311 to update their account information. That will allow the new outage reporting system to work more smoothly for them during an outage. Customers who use Hawaiian Electric’s online services can update their information by logging into their accounts at www.hawaiianelectric.com.

 

While the new automated system is capable of handling high volumes of calls, overloading of telephone circuits and cellular networks can reduce the efficiency of those communications systems. During major emergencies, such as a hurricane or tsunami, telecommunications providers and civil defense agencies may ask that the public limit telephone traffic to emergency calls only.

Photo: Power lines (Credit: Flickr, Gus Thomson)

— Sophie Cocke