SMS not always the answer, says Blackheath man

No power: Les Hayward.
No power: Les Hayward.

Blackheath man Les Hayward appreciates the need to upgrade power poles. But when it means his electricity is cut off with no notice, he's less appreciative.

Endeavour Energy has been replacing the poles along Hat Hill Road in Blackheath. The company now sends residents an SMS, rather than a letter, to mobile numbers it gets from their energy retailers.

Trouble was, Mr Hayward's retailer had the wrong number, ending in 744 instead of 734.

So the SMS never arrived and Mr Hayward and his wife, Karen, were caught on the hop when the power went out for the day.

Mr Hayward said he knows of others in Blackheath who have a mobile but only turn it on occasionally so would also not have known about the power cut.

He is hoping Endeavour might rethink its notification system and adopt one that Sydney Water uses, where people can select how they wish to learn about upcoming work in the area - by SMS, email or letter.

He has sent his suggestions to Endeavour.

"All I wanted them to do was say, we recognise there's something wrong with our system and we'll review it.

"They are obviously trying to save money and I understand that and I think that's a reasonable thing but before you introduce a new system it should be benchmarked against the old system to see that it meets all the requirements and this obviously doesn't."

A spokesman for Endeavour Energy said an SMS was sent two weeks prior to work and if it failed to deliver, the company sent a letter. He said Endeavour's systems were being upgraded to let customers choose how they are notified but this could take 12 months.

In the meantime, customers who don't want an SMS notification should call Endeavour on 133 718.

As for the timing of the pole replacement - in winter - Mr Hayward suggested to Endeavour that perhaps both residents and the electricity workers might appreciate a spring schedule.

The spokesman said the work in Hat Hill Road was part of a multi-stage upgrade.

"Much of the work was completed in autumn and broken into sections to minimise the disruption to customers before the height of winter.

"We'd like to thank the residents of Blackheath for their feedback and their understanding as we complete the work," he said.