Edison Electric Institute Honors Electric Utilities with Emergency Recovery, Assistance Awards

The Edison Electric Institute honored 14 electric utilities for their outstanding efforts to restore electric service or assist other utilities in restoring service following major storms or other natural events during 2007. The “Emergency Recovery Award” and the “Emergency Assistance Award” are presented annually.

By Consulting Specifying Engineer Staff March 1, 2008

The Edison Electric Institute honored 14 electric utilities for their outstanding efforts to restore electric service or assist other utilities in restoring service following major storms or other natural events during 2007.

The “Emergency Recovery Award” and the “Emergency Assistance Award” are presented annually to U.S. and foreign-based member companies to recognize outstanding efforts in restoring disrupted electric service. Receiving the “Emergency Recovery Award” were Alliant Energy, Ameren Corporation, Central Vermont Public Service, Commonwealth Edison, the Empire District Electric Company and Public Service Company of Oklahoma (part of American Electric Power). Receiving the “Emergency Assistance Award” were American Electric Power, CenterPoint Energy, Entergy, FirstEnergy Corp., Indianapolis Power & Light, Kansas City Power & Light, OG&E and Westar Energy.

“The electric utility industry has a long and unswerving tradition of restoring power quickly and assisting fellow utilities in need when storms and other events disrupt service,” said EEI President Tom Kuhn. “These companies and their employees upheld that tradition and then some during the past year, working long hours in sometimes dangerous conditions across the nation to ensure that electricity was restored to customers as quickly as possible.”

The 2007 award-winners faced numerous, significant electric restoration challenges during a year of powerful and damaging weather events. Some notable examples include the following:

  • Alliant Energy-Interstate Power and Light employees restored power to approximately 269,000 customers in the wake of a severe winter storm this past February in parts of Iowa and southern Minnesota. Despite the fact that most of IP&L’s delivery system was inoperable, the company launched an aggressive and organized electricity restoration effort with more than 1,500 crews working.

  • Two winter storms of a severity rarely seen in Ameren’s service territory caused outages to more than 1.1 million customers in and around the company’s Missouri and Illinois territories. Ameren deployed more than 4,000 electrical workers and 1,400 tree and vegetation workers.

  • Central Vermont Public Service more than tripled its 90-employee line force overnight and deployed 110 vegetation workers and 300 other employees in response to damage from an early-spring “Nor’icane” that took out power for 68,000 customers. The result was service restoration to 65% of affected customers after two days and 100% restoration within five days of the storm, with zero injuries to workers or members of the public.

  • Chicago-based Commonwealth Edison saw 634,000 customers lose electricity service following the most severe summer storm to hit the company’s northern Illinois service territory in 10 years. Six counties were declared federal disaster areas due to a combination of major flooding, 80,000 lightning strikes, and winds up to 100 mph. In what company officials called one of its best storm restoration performances ever, the utility re-established service to all affected customers within five days.

  • The Empire District Electric Company faced the task of restoring power to more than half of its customers after mid-January storms occurred in three waves over as many days across the company’s service territory in southwest Missouri, southeast Kansas, northeast Oklahoma, and northwest Arkansas. The company augmented its 300 line workers and 100 other deployed workers with more than 1,500 contractors from 14 companies in 10 states, and the crews braved continuing ice storms followed by sub-freezing temperatures and hazardous conditions to get the power back on.