Improvement in Utility Storm Recovery Efforts

Utilities seem to be improving their service-restoration abilities following severe storms, according to a recent study conducted by the Edison Electric Institute, the trade association of investor-owned utilities. EEI research was based on a survey of storm repair efforts and results, drawing on the experience of six utilities and covering 44 major storms between 1989 and 2003.

09/01/2004


Utilities seem to be improving their service-restoration abilities following severe storms, according to a recent study conducted by the Edison Electric Institute, the trade association of investor-owned utilities.

EEI research was based on a survey of storm repair efforts and results, drawing on the experience of six utilities and covering 44 major storms between 1989 and 2003. The report's authors emphasize that data may not be accurate on a nationwide basis, but that overall trends are positive.

The researchers' results focused on three major indicators of storm recovery performance:

  • An improved rate of recovery. In recent years, researchers say, utilities have restored power to as many as 150,000 customers per day following a major storm. This contrasts with historical averages of approximately 54,000 per day.

  • Shorter recovery times. The overall number of days required to complete restoration efforts has decreased over the 14-year reach of the study.

  • A more efficient workforce. In recent years, as many as 450 customers had their power restored for each restoration worker deployed. This figure compares to an average of approximately 140 customers per worker for the overall 14-year period of the study.

Researchers used utility equipment damage figures to eliminate the possibility that improving performance wasn't simply the result of less-severe weather in recent years. Figures for the total number of poles, conductor wire and transformers replaced annually due to major storms remained steady over the second half of the survey period.





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