Louisville Gas and Electric and Kentucky Utilities are among a few utilities in the nation and the first in Kentucky to now offer customers a free smartphone application that displays near real-time outage information across the utilities' service territories.

Specifically, an outage map app is now available for download on iPhone, Android and Blackberry devices. Customers can search for "LG&E and KU Outage Maps" within the app stores of each of these mobile phones. Once downloaded, customers are able to view the companies' outage map in a platform designed specifically for a mobile interface.

Like the outage map found on LG&E and KU's website, the new smartphone app displays outage numbers in an interactive graphic and chart format showing outages by county and by zip code.

The app is updated automatically in regular intervals based on information available in the companies' outage management system. Additionally, once operational staff assesses the extent of an outage, estimated restoration times are provided on the map.

"Our smartphone outage map app is our first entry in a larger mobile communications portfolio that will be progressively introduced to customers," said Greg Thomas, vice president of Energy Delivery — Distribution Operations for LG&E and KU. "Enabling the public to access and view outage information on the go is just another way we are working to enhance our customers' experiences with us."

Additional mobile communications offerings, such as two-way outage texting and email/phone-based outage updates and notifications, are currently in development.

Beginning with the launch of online outage reporting at my.lge-ku.com, LG&E and KU have steadily increased the communications channels through which customers can receive and access outage information.

For instance, customers have been following the companies' tweets at www.twitter.com/lgeku and accessing near real-time outage information at www.lge-ku.com/storm since 2010. LG&E and KU's blog, Your Energy Matters, has been engaging customers on a variety of energy-related topics for more than a year.