It was mid-afternoon on one of the recent hot days, and the power went off. This doesn't happen to us very often, so it took me by surprise. I was on the computer and the monitor, understandably, went blank. Fortunately, my computer is actually a laptop (it seemed the way to go several years ago when I bought it), so after disconnecting the monitor, my unsaved work was there.
Within minutes, beep-beep, and there's a message from CitiPower to the effect that there's an outage and even giving a time estimate for restoration. And when the power did come back on, a few minutes before the estimated time, there's another message from CitiPower saying the power was back but if we didn't have it, we could call them.
SMS messages about a power outage? Rather good, I thought. But, on reflection, I don't think I've ever provided CitiPower with my mobile phone number, so how did they know to send the SMS (which quoted extracts from our meter number)? I can only think that at some stage I've provided it to the retailer. It couldn't be by matching billing addresses, because the mobile phone isn't billed to our home address. The fact that the meter number was quoted seems to rule out the sort of area alert proposed for bushfire emergencies (...or is the system so sophisticated that it links meter numbers with mobile phone numbers within the area?)
Hmm, technology at work, but also a reminder of the reach of Big Brother!