Emergency Assistance Program - Storm Response
Please click on the following link to enter your City/Town's information.You will be asked to enter information regarding crews that you can send to assist other towns.Please hit Save when you are finished.The Emergency Assistance Coordinator will contact you if help is needed.
Storm Response Entry
Emergency Assistance Program
The Emergency Assistance Program was established in 1986 as a way to help the state's 74 municipal electric systems restore power quickly. The program works by dispatching crews from cities that have not been impacted by the storm or have already restored most of their outages to cities that need extra help. Out-of-state municipal crews and contractors are also placed on standby to respond.
Long before a storm hits your community, numbers of people and agencies are prepared to restore power should there be an interruption. Often storms only affect one community, but sometimes they can affect a whole region or even the entire state. Regardless of the magnitude,there are plans in place to address our citizens' needs.
Membership in the Emergency Assistance Program has proven to be a great asset during storms. The individual member utility departments work with their employees, particularly those in purchasing and warehousing, to ensure adequate personnel and materials are available if needed. Usually they can get their customers' power restored quickly without assistance. However, some storms are massive enough that assistance from other utilities is required. This is when neighbors come to the aid of their neighbors through the Emergency Assistance Program. To better understand the program, it is necessary to understand some of the people and agencies involved and their roles when assistance is needed.
There are two primary Regional Coordinators, one in the eastern part of the state and one in the western part of the state. Each has a backup Assistant Regional Coordinator also. In the event that the primary Regional Coordinator's city is so badly impacted that he must devote all his efforts to restoring power in his city, he turns over his duties to the Assistant Regional Coordinator. If the eastern part of the state is greatly impacted – as was the case during Hurricane Floyd – then the western primary Regional Coordinator would be called on first to take over duties during the emergency, and if he was unavailable, the Assistant Regional Coordinator would assume those responsibilities. The same is true when the western part of the state suffers major outages and the eastern part of the state assumes duties to coordinate restoration of services. Each member has an Authorized Representative who works with the Regional Coordinator and the ElectriCities Emergency Assistance Coordinator. The location of your city determines which Regional Coordinator your Authorized Representative calls. It is critical during emergencies that people coordinate their requests through the appropriate Regional Coordinator so everyone gets assistance and all crews are not dispatched to one area while others go without assistance. The Regional Coordinators and Authorized Representatives work with the ElectriCities staff to provide critical information to state agencies.
Before contacting the Regional Coordinator, the Authorized Representative should make an assessment of the damage and the type of assistance that is needed. He will contact the Regional Coordinator and provide him with the following information:
- general description of damage;
- the part of the electrical system where assistance is needed (transmission, substation, or distribution);
- the amount and type of personnel, equipment, materials and supplies needed and a reasonable estimate of time they will be needed;
- the current weather conditions and forecast for the next 24 hours; and
- a specific place for a representative of the requesting member to meet the personnel and equipment of the assisting member.
The Regional Coordinator then contacts the Authorized Representative of each member utility in the region who has notified him they have crews on standby or will call members to see who is able to assist. Information provided by the requesting member utility is conveyed to the member utility willing to send assistance. The Regional Coordinator will then contact the ElectriCities Emergency Assistance Program Coordinator and inform him/her of the situation and the progress being made in providing assistance.
When the ElectriCities representative has been notified of the assistance being sent to member utilities, he or she will record the name of the member receiving assistance and the name(s) of the member(s) providing assistance. He or she will follow their progress until all power is restored. This information is required by the state's Department of Emergency Management. The outage numbers are combined with the outage numbers of all energy providers in the state and, if the damage is extensive enough, the Governor will declare a State of Emergency. Long before the storm hits our border, the ElectriCities representative will have contacted out-of-state agencies through our mutual aid agreements with those states and asked them what help they can send if we are hit. Their crews are on standby but do not get on the highway until the Governor declares a State of Emergency. This declaration is faxed to them to be placed on the dashboard of their trucks so the highway restrictions are waived. They are given the name and contact numbers for the Regional Coordinator so he can send them where they are most needed.
The ElectriCities representative works closely with the Political Action and Communications Division to report any information they may need to provide in press releases or answer questions from the media or our members. Communications is responsible for making sure the information is both current and accurate. They work very closely with the Public Information Officers in the affected member cities/towns.
ElectriCities operations personnel monitor the situation and stay in contact with the power suppliers concerning any potential problems at points of delivery.
The reported outage numbers are critical to getting help for our members from state and federal agencies. Not only do they determine when the Governor can declare a State of Emergency and get out-of-state crews on the road to help us, but the number of customers without power for more than 24 hours is used to determine the number of additional food stamps a county will receive following the disaster. The numbers are used to determine when to open and close shelters, when to activate mobile feeding kitchens, and other essential services to care for those being evacuated or who are displaced due to the storm. When numbers indicate the damage is severe enough, the President will declare the area a Disaster Area and those areas are usually eligible for federal aid from FEMA. This is why it is important to report all outage numbers to the ElectriCities representative so they can work for you with the State Emergency Response Team. They are also there if the county emergency management office cannot get supplies you need to help during recovery. This might include ice, sand bags, water tankers, etc. This information needs to be communicated to the ElectriCities representative when reporting outage numbers and after contacting the county emergency management office.
For more information about the Emergency Assistance Program, contact Clarice Wilson at 800/768-7697, ext. 6293.