The new feature\-which builds on Ameren's real-time outage map, added to the site in March 2005\-allows customers to view their own outage history, outage status and, when possible, restoration time. Among the Web site's main features: • Start date and time of outage • Current status of outage • Restoration time, when available • Cause of the outage • Total number of customers affected by your outage
Ameren is now one of a handful of U.S. utilities providing Web-based account- specific power outage information. To use this feature, Ameren customers must set up a UserID and Password for Ameren's eCustomer system\-a free, Web-based tool for online account access and account management.
"We find that our Web site attracts the greatest number of visitors during storms," said Chief Operating Officer Tom Voss. "It's no longer the case that 'out of power' means 'out of touch.' Our research shows that people are logging on from work, logging on from a relative's house or logging on from battery-powered laptops."
The new features can be accessed from the "Your Electric Outage" link. The link appears in Ameren's Storm Center and its Residential Home page on www.ameren.com. While at the Storm Center, customers are encouraged to use Ameren's feedback form to provide information about what kind of information they need. Comments from customers were key to developing the new outage information tool.
"Our customers told us they wanted account-specific outage information through the feedback form and other means," says Voss. "They have come to expect a lot more from us in terms of the amount and quality of information we are delivering to them over the Web. The world is changing, and we are changing with it."
First implemented in February 2003, Ameren's eCustomer system gives 2.4 million electric and one million natural gas customers in Missouri and Illinois the ability to get billing and usage history information, make payments, pay bills, establish payment options, turn service on or off, enroll in special programs and much more\-all with the click of a mouse through the secure Web site.
In its first two months, 10,000 customers signed up for eCustomer, the number originally projected for the first full year. By March 2004, about 50,000 customers had enrolled, five times the number expected. The system reached the 100,000 mark in December 2004. Today, there are more than 200,000 Ameren eCustomers.
Ameren companies serve 2.4 million electric customers and nearly one million natural gas customers in a 64,000-square-mile area of Missouri and Illinois.
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