Information about power outages is now just a click away for thousands of Johnson City Power Board customers.
On Thursday, the electric utility company announced an online outage mapping system that can display near-real-time outage information from the Power Board’s website, jcpb.com.
“Right now, we have this up and running, so if there’s an outage, our customers can go online and see,” Power Board CEO Jeff Dykes said during Thursday’s monthly board meeting. “We’re the only one in this area, you have to get to Knoxville before you can have another map like this that will show you where they’re out.”
Right now, the online map shows the number of outages by ZIP code in the utility’s service territory, but Dykes said the feature will soon be broken down farther to show the number of outages by community.
He said the map should be helpful to news organizations during winter storms to let readers, viewers and listeners know where major outages are occurring and when they can expect them to be repaired.
The technology is made possible by the utility’s 76,000 advanced meters, which were installed in 2011 as part of an upgrade project.
When one of the meters senses an outage, information from the meter is sent automatically to the mapping system to be displayed on the website.
Although Internet modems can’t connect users to the Internet without electricity, Dykes said customers with smartphones can access the website during an outage, and those using radios with batteries should be able to get information from news alerts.