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12 August 2010

EDF Energy Networks has launched a new SMS text messaging service to keep customers updated during a power failure.

The new free service is part of a wide range of customer service initiatives provided by the company.

The energy company is committed to providing a reliable supply of electricity and is constantly investing to improve the performance of the electricity network and to meet future needs for power. However, interruptions to power can sometimes still occur, for example when underground cables are accidentally damaged or high winds blow debris on to overhead power lines.

Any customer who contacts EDF Energy Networks to report an interruption to their power supply can opt to provide their mobile phone number to receive text updates about the incident.

In the past, people in the East of England, South East and London, where EDF Energy Networks owns and runs the electricity distribution networks, have benefited from a limited text messaging service. This service sent an estimated time when their power was likely to be restored to all who requested it, and confirmed when all power supplies were back on.

Now the initiative has been expanded to offer more detailed updates in the form of six to 11 text messages per incident. Customers will be texted when engineers are on their way to investigate the problem, when they are working on site, when the problem has been located and more. The messages will be sent out manually, according to computer records which are constantly updated by engineers on site.

Matt Rudling, EDF Energy Networks’ Head of Customer Service, said: “We are very keen to keep our customers informed about our engineers’ progress, when they work to restore power supplies often in very difficult conditions. The new text message service has been introduced as part of our ongoing effort to improve the level of information and range of communications which are available to customers.

“Our customer advisers will always be happy to provide the latest information over the telephone but now customers who would like regular updates can also benefit from a series of free messages, without having to make multiple phone calls. In the first week of this service we were delighted to see 20 per cent of callers requested text updates and we expect the demand to grow.”

EDF Energy Networks treats all information, including phone numbers, as confidential but when planning how to deal with emergencies it passes some customer contact details on to the British Red Cross, contractors and other emergency responders.

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For further information, contact Tracey Sparling in the EDF Energy press office on 08701 962504.

Notes to editors:
EDF Energy is one of the UK’s largest energy companies, producing around one-fifth of the nation's electricity from its nuclear, coal and gas power stations, as well as combined heat and power plants and wind farms. The company provides power to a quarter of the UK’s population via its electricity distribution networks and supplies gas and electricity to more than 5.5 million business and residential customers. It is the number one supplier of electricity to major business in the UK.

EDF Energy’s safe and secure operation of its eight existing nuclear power stations at sites across the country makes it the UK’s largest generator of low carbon electricity.  EDF Energy is also leading the UK's nuclear renaissance and has published plans to build four new nuclear reactors, subject to the right investment framework. These new plants would generate enough low carbon electricity for about 40% of Britain’s homes. They would make an important contribution to the UK’s future needs for clean, secure and affordable energy. The project is already creating business and job opportunities for British companies and workers.

Through Our Climate and Social Commitments EDF Energy has launched the biggest environmental and social programme of any UK energy company. EDF is the official energy utilities partner and sustainability partner of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. The company is also helping its customers and others use energy more sustainably through products and initiatives such as Read, Reduce, Reward and Team Green Britain.

EDF Energy is part of EDF Group, one of Europe’s largest power companies. Following the integration with British Energy in 2009, the company employs nearly 20,000 people at locations across the UK.