Why post-storm support is important for utility companies
No matter where you live, you are likely to experience a severe storm or natural disaster at some point. Blizzards, floods, tornados, hurricanes, and even strong straight-line winds have the power to disrupt utilities, create safety hazards, and generate property damage.
Most organizations have some type of storm response plan. However, industrial facilities, utility providers, emergency responders, and governments at all levels have a higher burden of responsibility to create and implement a catastrophic storm response plan. We count on these organizations to protect the public and restore services as quickly as possible.
To better understand the methodology behind emergency restoration services, let’s take a look at what storm response looks like for utility companies. An unplanned outage puts a utility company in the spotlight. Communities expect emergency restoration services to be completed quickly. Customers also count on frequent updates and clear communication from their utility provider. Customers want to know when they can expect their service restored and what progress is taking place. If managed well, a catastrophic storm response builds trust between the utility company and its customers. However, if a storm response is mismanaged, customers will quickly become dissatisfied.
Long before a storm hits, utility companies contract with emergency restoration contractors like Matrix NAC to help expedite their storm response. When your company’s reputation is at stake, you want trusted resources to work alongside you in a crisis. An emergency restoration contractor can help map out a plan to mobilize crews and work effectively during a storm response.
The first step of an unplanned outage is to prevent injuries and fires. Utility crews will make sure power is no longer flowing through any of the downed lines. At the same time, management must also evaluate if the weather conditions have improved enough to begin restoration work safely.
The first step of an outage management system is to prevent injuries and fires. Utility crews will make sure power is no longer flowing through any of the downed lines. At the same time, the power provider’s management team must also evaluate if the weather conditions have improved enough to begin restoration work safely.
Once crews are dispatched, they must assess the damage and restore the primary source of power production. This responsibility usually falls to the utility company. Crews start restoration work by making emergency storm damage repair at the most important power plants.
Outages at the substation level may require crucial repairs. Transformers and other equipment may need to be replaced in order for the power to reach local distribution lines. Once substations are online, emergency restoration crews, like the Matrix NAC team, are dispatched to repair distribution lines that will return service to the largest number of customers in the least amount of time. Service lines to businesses, industrial complexes, and neighborhoods are systematically restored. This is a critical step in the process because it’s often the distribution lines that suffer the most damage in a storm.
Finally, emergency storm damage repair is made to smaller groups of customers and individual homes. When everyone is back online, crews can rest and return home. Following an event, management teams at the utility provider will evaluate the catastrophic storm response. Leaders will make changes based on what went well and what could have been handled differently. Continuous improvement is an important part of an outage management system plan. Storm restoration contractors need experienced line crews who can jump into action at a moment’s notice. These skilled workers need to be able to work alongside utility workers and perform quality work under pressure. Utility companies play a vital role in storm recovery. When companies choose to work with an experienced emergency restoration company, they are helping their customers return to their schools, homes, and workplaces as quickly as possible.
Interested in learning more? Contact us to learn more about partnering with Matrix NAC or read more about our post-storm support following Hurricane Dorian.