Thursday, September 8, 2011

DTE announces iPhone app for outage information

DTE Energy Co. customers who are in the dark may brighten their days by getting updates on their power outages — if they have enough juice left on their iPhones.

Customers with smartphones now can report a power outage, view outage maps and get a restoration estimate through DTE's new free mobile app.

The news about DTE's app — available since mid-July but announced Tuesday on a company tweet — comes three days after more than 120,000 Detroit Edison customers lost power during Saturday's severe storms. About 7,000 homes still were without power Tuesday evening, the utility said.

The app, which also lets users report downed power lines or gas leaks, has been downloaded 2,000 times and is available through Apple's App Store, said Scott Simons, a DTE spokesman. A version of the app for Droid phones should be available soon, he added.

Besides utilities, all kinds of companies are adding apps to cater to the growing number of smartphone users. The Nielsen Co. predicts that by the end of this year, more than half of U.S. cellphones will be smartphones.

Detroit-based DTE also is planning to launch an app so customers can view their account balances and pay their bills from their smartphones, Simons said.

From The Detroit News:

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