The days of getting caught in unexpected black outs and outages may soon be over thanks to a new website being developed by the Kenya Power IT team. Although we will still have the outages, Kenya Power has made it easier for Kenyans to know the places without power - scheduled and unscheduled.
The PowerAlert website gives real-time power blackouts and status across the country divided in eight zones from Coast to North Eastern.
The website is a major upgrade from the newspaper ads Kenya Power places next to the obituaries section to notify customers about the scheduled outages.
PowerAlert gives users the option of signing in via their Google, Twitter and Facebook accounts and by adding your location, you get e-mail, SMS or Twitter notifications when an outage happens in your area.
"The PowerAlert service consolidates all planned outages/shutdowns in a single portal for customers to effectively plan their daily activities and help minimize inconveniences that may be caused," says a statement on www.poweralerts.kenyapower.co.ke
The utility company has embraced technology and social media in a bid to improve service delivery with most users getting faster replies to complaints via Twitter or Facebook than the customer service telephone lines.
PowerAlert website indicates if the power issue in your area has been reported, the problem and what the company is doing about it. The comment section gives an additional channel for customers to report or check the status.
In addition, a nifty Twitter map integrated with the @KenyaPower account gives location-based reports. For example, Ruaka has had a two-day outage causing the Twitter reports to spike to 69 compared to an averaged of 4 in other affected areas.
Although Kenya Power has a disclaimer that the website is still under development, I was able to log in and test most of the functions. As Kenya Power automates most of its systems, Kenyans will benefit by getting faster and more efficient response to complaints and billing.