Phone, Internet & Power Issues

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Over the past week, a significant number of issues have occurred impacting our ability to serve our members. We wanted to take a minute to give you an update on these items and let you know we are doing everything possible to return to normal operations. 

Phone Lines / Internet Issues
Around 3:30 PM on Friday, June 4 we lost network connectivity to our office. We have limited redundancy of our internet access other than what is provided by AT&T. Over the weekend, we tried several things to restore our connectivity. On Monday, a technician was sent by AT&T to resolve the issue. Initially, the technician believed it was an issue with our hardware but after two days of our team working with network support, it was determined AT&T had an issue with their hardware and it needed to be replaced. We also found an issue on our side that needed to be fixed which was causing our internal systems to be down. The work on this has been completed and we are running with normal connectivity. 

The impact of this has limited our capabilities in taking member payments and addressing member issues. Our phone system is connected to this network and unfortunately, all our calls have had to go to an after-hours service. We will get caught up on any service requests that came in over the past couple of days. Members should be able to make payments through SmartHub and using our pay by phone option. 

Weekend Outage Issues
Last Friday, in a perfect storm, we also had several reported outages. The system was overloaded. To protect the system, breakers were tripped during this period which caused outages. Dairyland Power Cooperative, our wholesale supplier, began working on the Oak Grove substation on May 24. At the time this was scheduled, the extreme temperatures were not forecasted. Our crews worked to move and shift load to other substations to reduce some of the constraints. At the same time, we also initiated load control to help relieve pressure from the system. We apologize for the inconvenience this placed on our members. 

We have been monitoring the system the past few days and the steps we took last weekend seem to be helping the issue. The Oak Grove substation should be back in service in the next week which will ensure we can return to normal system operations. 

Update to Outage Reporting / Text Messaging 
For the past several years, we have offered the ability for members to receive text messages. Members can sign up in SmartHub to receive messages for various events. Our technology provider, which works with hundreds of co-ops just like us, recently made a change to their text messaging service due to a regulatory change. Going forward members will no longer receive messages from the short code 768482 (SMTHUB) but rather a 1-800 number. Our dedicated number will be (855)939-3842. Members choosing to report outages can use this same number to text ‘OUT’ to report an outage via text message or ‘STATUS’ to check on the status of an outage. 

Our goal is to ensure we provide first class service to our members and to utilize technology to create efficiencies. Our team greatly appreciates your patience as we have worked through these issues. We continue to review our internal processes and system redundancy to ensure future impacts are minimized. Thank you for your understanding! 

Nate Boettcher 
President & CEO