Mobile, social efforts paying off for utilities

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Mobile efforts really do pay off for utilities. Just look at ComEd. The utility on Monday celebrated more than one million transactions utilizing its smart phone app in less than one year -- 10 months to be exact.

The utility's app allows customers to report power outages and manage their accounts from their smart phones. ComEd says its other mobile and social applications are gaining traction, including 18.2 million transactions completed through ComEd's website and mobile-enabled site; more than 32,000 Facebook fans; and nearly 4,800 followers on Twitter; and in excess of 102,000 customer sign ups for two-way text messaging where customers can text "out" to ComEd to report an outage and receive restoration information.

ComEd also claims to be the first utility to offer customers the ability to report outages via Facebook and one of the first to deploy text messaging to customers.

Other utilities are working with providers to brand turnkey smart phone apps to track usage, pay bills, report outages, and provide customer service, enabling utilities to integrate a diverse set of consumer-facing applications into a mobile solution.

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