COLUMBUS, Ohio, September 13, 2004 — Twenty First Century’s High Volume Call Answering (HVCA) system was put to the test during and after Hurricane Frances.
“Although certainly our Florida clients are still feeling the brunt of the storm, TFCC clients all along the eastern seaboard and as far inland as West Virginia and Ohio
contributed to the call volumes we’ve experienced in the last 7 days”, stated Keith Rothe, Vice President of Operations. “And it doesn’t seem to be ending anytime soon.
We’re still taking heavy call traffic and with Hurricane Ivan threatening as early as Monday we could be in for our longest sustained period of high call volumes,” he concluded. HVCA enables a utility’s customers to report their outage and receive restoration times. Utilities that use HVCA are able to answer all calls therefore receiving a “true outage footprint” of who is out, where the outages are located and the density of the damage. The HVCA system also allows the utility to call the customer back to provide updated restoration estimates or to verify service has been restored.
Hurricane Frances brought significant damages and power outages to several TFCC clients. For a seven day period beginning September 3rd and continuing through September 9th, TFCC handled 3,413,523 calls. As the graph indicates, the volume continues to be high a week after the Frances made landfall.
In preparation for the storm, TFCC doubled the staffing on the 24/7 Help Desk, altered the work schedules of key personnel such as database and network administrators to provide on site, around-the-clock coverage. In addition, the support team established emergency call routing plans for the IVR platform as a backup to existing routing plans. TFCC also validated call routing plans and outage applications of clients that were in the path of the storm. Communication between TFCC staff and the clients remained constant throughout the period.
The TFCC Network Operations Center (NOC) provided TFCC staff with a central location from which to manage the outage. Multiple graphic displays in the NOC provided specific information about the storm as well as visual confirmation for TFCC staff of the call volume per minute and identification by service territory of the clients that were in outage.
Currently, more than 80 U.S. utilities representing more than 69 million customers, ranging in size from Pacific Gas & Electric with 4.7 million customers to Kootenai Electric Cooperative with 17,000, use Twenty First Century Communications’ services. TFCC provides service to 8 of the 10 largest utilities in the U.S., including ComEd, AEP, Southern California Edison, Duke Power, Dominion Virginia Power and Texas Utilities.