Homeowners are seldom more helpless than when the power goes out. On top of the obvious stresses of making do without electricity is thrown the "not knowing" factor. When will power be restored? Does the power company even know there's been an outage?
Customers of Consumers Energy in Michigan (there are close to 6.5 million of them) will have at least one beacon of light in the darkness of their next power outage: their cell phones.
Thanks to the company's new mobile device web application, customers can not only report an outage to the company, they can also receive a service restoration estimate. The two big power outage stressors - does the company know about the outage and how long will it last - are now eliminated.
It's not exactly Smart Grid material, but it has that feel to it.
If my power company offered the app, you better believe I'd be downloading it.