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CONSUMERS POWER UNVEILS NEW COMMUNICATIONS SYSTEM; TECHNOLOGY WILL BENEFIT CUSTOMERS

 CONSUMERS POWER UNVEILS NEW COMMUNICATIONS SYSTEM;
 TECHNOLOGY WILL BENEFIT CUSTOMERS
 ROYAL OAK, Mich., July 9 /PRNewswire/ -- In an effort to improve its level of service to customers, Consumers Power Company is unveiling a new state-of-the-art communications system today at the utility's Metro Region headquarters in Royal Oak.
 Keynote speaker Royal Oak Mayor Pat Paruch praised the advanced communications system and its importance to Consumers Power customers. State Rep. Shirley Johnson attended and presented a proclamation from state legislators to Consumers Power.
 The communications system consists of a new workload information network (WIN) system, and a 210-foot 800-megahertz tower located at Consumers Power's Royal Oak service center. Three other towers within the region's service territory, with a height of 280, 270 and 240 feet, are also being used to improve communications and develop data lines necessary to operate the WIN system.
 The four towers use the same high band wavelength as cellular phones. This will eliminate many of the problems associated with a low band system, such as static and "dead zones" which were occasionally experienced during radio transmissions in the metropolitan Detroit area. These problems were caused by both hilly terrain and tall buildings, which limited or prevented consistent effective communications between utility radio dispatchers and field employees.
 The WIN system is an innovative new electronic communications system designed to reduce paperwork by providing current information via a mainframe computer located at Consumers Power's headquarters in Jackson with one in the Metro Region.
 When fully operational in the Metro Region next month, the WIN system will be 90-95-percent voiceless and paperless. Pre-routing, scheduling of work and other functions will be largely accomplished by computer, and will be performed at a much quicker pace than under the previous manual system, said Rodger Drueke, Metro Region gas services manager.
 Most of the communications between radio dispatchers and field employees will also take place by computer. Field employees will use hand-held units to transmit and receive information, while dispatchers will have a computer terminal and keyboard at their work space. Other departments that will use the WIN system include customer service, accounting, gas operations and the energy request center.
 Among the many benefits of the WIN system for customers will include "improved scheduling quality, faster and more accurate field communication, faster field and office data retrieval, a call-ahead feature that will automatically call and alert the next customer on the day's schedule, improved field work status reporting, and improved material ordering," Drueke said.
 "The reason we installed this state-of-the-art communications system is that we found there was room for improvement in both the way we operate and the level of service we provide to our customers," Drueke said. "The WIN system and new 800-megahertz radio system will increase both," he said.
 The Metro Region of Consumers Power serves more than 740,000 customers in Oakland, Macomb, and parts of Wayne, Livingston and Washtenaw counties.
 Consumers Power Company, the principal subsidiary of CMS Energy Corporation (NYSE: CMS), is Michigan's largest natural gas and electric utility serving almost 6 million of the state's 9 million residents in 67 of the 68 Lower Peninsula counties.
 -0- 7/9/92
 /CONTACT: Debra McIntyre-Dodd of Consumers Power, 313-433-5781 or 313-486-4074 (after 6 p.m.)/
 (CMS) CO: Consumers Power Company; CMS Energy Corporation ST: Michigan IN: UTI SU: PDT


SB-DH -- DE014 -- 7865 07/09/92 13:02 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jul 9, 1992
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