I've given the Energy Australia online reporting system a few tries in the last week as a test to see whether I could get a few substations cleaned up. For each report, I included the substation asset number and a link to the blog entry with some photos and a map showing the location of the substation.
I got two emails like this today:
I've been in the same boat as this customer service rep, where the IT department has decided to block access to certain sites for reasons that are clear to no one in particular, so I can sympathise.
However, what I find slightly incredible is that the customer service department of Energy Australia has no access to the asset register listing where all its substations are. Having worked with Asset Registers before on ERP systems, I know that where possible, every major asset has some sort of address field associated with it. One mob I worked with gave a few staff a GPS unit (back when they were expensive and rare) and sent them off to visit every location where they had equipment so that every item that they owned was geocoded to within 10 metres.
I'm sure Energy Australia have done the same. I worked with a bloke once that told me about a system that one of the electricity distributors in NSW has where you can do a virtual flyby down all their transmission lines - I think they shot a lot of footage from helicopters when they were cleaning the high voltage towers (which they do with high pressure hoses from helicopters - you've got to keep the dust down or they catch fire).
Well, at least I now know that the customer service reps at Energy Australia are faced with some limitations and restrictions, so I can tailor my approach accordingly. I'll just have to spoon feed them the old fashioned way.
Imagine phoning McDonalds to tell them that there was a problem at their store in George St, and they responded with, "I don't know where that store is - and I have no way of finding out - can you please be more precise?"