Communicating With Customers

For public water providers, communication is a necessary and sometimes critical element in providing service to its customers.  Communicating with our customers ranges from normal operating activities such as notification of planned water outages, construction activities and flushing water mains to emergency situations such as boil water advisories and do not use warnings.  Utilization of the media, primarily radio and TV, for emergency situations has been a long-used method of communicating with customers; however, timeliness of the information, as well as the number of viewers or listeners, is a factor.

Approximately 5 years ago, the Authority partnered with a company called Swift Reach to provide a telephone-based emergency notification system to our customers.  The Authority attempts to keep a database containing an emergency contact phone number for each customer in our water system.  Should an incident or emergency arise in which the Authority must get a message to its customers, we simply record the message, map out the area we would like to notify, then initiate the process.  The automatic system then calls and delivers a message to each customer.  A system-wide message to the Authority’s 26,000 customers can be delivered within a few minutes.

With a notification such as this, it is critical that our database of telephone numbers is accurate.  Specifically, if you are a renter and your water bill is paid by your landlord, there is a good chance that we do not have your contact number.  If you have had no reason to call the Authority in the last 10 years, we may not have an accurate contact number for you.  If you have recently changed your number or disconnected your land line, we may not have an accurate contact number for you; here is where your help is needed!  It is very easy to ensure that the Authority has an accurate contact number for you.  Simply visit the Authority website at www.hswa-pa.org, choose “HSWA Customer Contact Info Form” on the top menu and complete the info, when complete push ‘submit’ or of course you can do it the old-fashioned way by just calling our business office at 412-486-4867.

The Authority also recently added a feature on its after-hours answering service that we hope will be helpful to our customers.  Should you experience a water outage or discolored water after normal business hours, simply phone our office at 412-486-4867, follow the instructions on the automated message which will give you the option to choose “current water breaks”.  This option will give the customer information on any current water breaks including streets affected, the time the water was shut off and an approximate time repairs will be completed.

As the Authority continues to grow, it becomes even more important to be able to effectively communicate with its customers.  If you have ideas or comments you would like to pass on to the Authority, please email us at info@hswa-pa.org.