Day-to-day life would come to a halt without electricity. It is used to power everything from necessities like refrigerators and lights to luxuries like cable TV and internet access. It may even be used to power up a medical device needed to sustain life.
While most people aren’t concerned with how the electricity gets to them, they are concerned that it does. Utility companies are ranked on their ability to deliver electricity without interruption, but unfortunately emergencies do arise and power does go out.
Utility companies cannot prevent natural disasters so they are constantly creating and revising emergency preparedness plans to deal with power outages and to ensure power is quickly restored to customers.
Emergency response teams are an important part of any utility company. The team typically uses past disasters as a way to learn to deal with new disasters going forward. Teams review what worked and what didn’t work so that they can be ready the next time an emergency arises.
In addition to looking at past experiences, drills and exercises are administered all year long to imitate weather disasters such as floods, ice and downed wires. The drills teach valuable lessons on how to restore power as quickly, efficiently and safely as possible after a natural disaster occurs. Utility companies organize staff as far in advance of a weather event as possible to ensure teams are in place in the hardest hit areas.
A command center is run 24 hours per day after a disaster until all customers’ power has been restored. Utility companies have created mutual assistance programs to aid each other in restoring power when significant outages occur.
The partnerships are particularly helpful in major weather events such as Superstorm Sandy in 2012 which knocked out power for 10 million people across 24 states.