A few years ago, the CPWA created an email alert system to notify customers in the event of an emergency. It was intended to provide the primary means of notification and while the system works well for customers who signed up early, it does not work well for those signed up later.
In order to avoid having our email notices flagged as spam, we are limited to sending out small packets of emails every 15 minutes. These are sent out in a sort of first in/first out order, in that the first packet of emails is sent to the customers who signed up for email alerts early on and the last packet is sent out to the customers who signed up very recently. The problem this creates is that many customers experience that their email notification isn't arriving for several hours from the intial posting. Some have stated that they didn't get the email until 7 hours after the alert was posted.
Many of our customers have expressed disappointment with our moving away from the email alert system. We can certainly understand how customers who were receiving those alerts in a timely manner are upset by this change, but we need to have an alert system that works for all customers, not just the relative few who signed up early.
Until we can find a better method of ensuring that all of our customers can receive timely emergency notifications, we will be using Facebook and Twitter. We will continue to post emergency alerts on our website and will use local media outlets or direct notification in the event of emergencies like boil-water advisories.
Customers are still encouraged to sign up for email alerts to receive other non-emergency notifications from the CPWA.