The pioneers are still standing – will more utilities charge ahead with auto-enrollment?

By Russ Henderson, Senior Research Analyst –

Three years ago this month, the FCC made a game-changing decision giving U.S. utility companies legal protections so they can automatically enroll their customers for outage push alerts.

A few brave pioneers, including Eversource Energy, Puget Sound Energy and Xcel Energy, quickly took advantage of the ruling by auto-enrolling customers for alerts.

As yet, those pioneers have no arrows in their backs. That is to say, a major challenge in the form of a TCPA lawsuit has not arisen. As a result, every year, a few more utilities have taken the leap to auto-enroll customers for outage push alerts. Now, nearly 20 utilities have done so, and momentum seems to keep growing.

Every year since the 2016 FCC ruling, Chartwell’s Outage Communications Industry Survey has asked U.S. utilities to report how they have responded to the decision. This year, for the first time since 2016, a plurality of respondents stated that their organization had already begun to automatically enroll customers for outage push alerts.

For more information, download Chartwell’s newest report, Auto-Enrollment for Push Alerts. The report covers a good bit of ground, including the effect of automatic enrollment on customer satisfaction, chief concerns in the industry about auto-enrollment, and several pieces of advice from experienced utilities.

Nothing in the report or our blog posts should be construed as legal advice, naturally. Each utility will have to come to its own conclusions on these issues, and Chartwell will be keenly tracking developments in this areas for the industry and keeping our members informed about them.

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