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Utility Mutual Aid Agreements

(Last Updated On: December 20, 2020)

When a utility is required to provide mutual assistance, it makes an application through the regional group that determines the need for personnel and equipment in each region. In the Northeast, a utility company would reach the North Atlantic Mutual Assistance Group (NAMAG) or supplement resources and their pool of catering teams and emergency contractors. Currently, Con Edison has repositories with other distribution companies and uses drone technology in applications authorized by law. The utility also works with industry groups and developers to promote visualization technologies for the assessment and analysis of distribution damage. “We used to do it with a pencil and paper, and it was an outdated and complicated process,” Eisenbrey said. “Each utility had to go through a conversation to see how many resources they had and how many were needed. We found that after Sandy, when our industry was in the spotlight, it was a great time to invest in a more standardized, more scalable tool. “We usually know days in advance that a big storm is coming, and start putting in place the mutual support and staff of the contractor,” Yip said. “It allowed us to recover 1.1 million customer outages caused by Sandy and a Nor`easter that hit the following week.

It was our greatest mutual support to date. We set up base camps where workers could sleep, eat and rest while they were out of service. At the national and regional level, electricity suppliers can participate in a wide range of mutuals. However, at the national level, the three key programs include the Federal Electricity Institute`s (IEE) Voluntary Mutual Mutual Assistance Program for the IEE, the public mutual assistance power program run by APPA and the cooperative regions established within the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Yip says that electrical industry professionals are like farmers because they keep a close eye on the weather. Each year, the IED sponsors two different storm exercises, one in the spring and one just before the start of the hurricane season on June 1. The spring exercise is organized as a table exercise in which public service leaders go through the procedure verbally, discuss issues and identify issues that still need to be improved. However, during the summer exercise, participants not only talk about storm reactions, they do not practice them by combining resources and connecting with government officials. They also follow the EEI`s NRE playbook.

While Hyland says the electrical industry has done a good job over the past 100 years in responding to storm failures, the customer experience and expectations have changed dramatically. For example, 50 years ago, customers did not rely on mobile phones, laptops and other mobile devices. “In cases where we help, we promote our employees based on volunteers,” Yip said. “We want to get the crews on the road and be operational until the host utility needs it.” In addition, the IEE is also working on ways to facilitate the crossing of national and national borders by recovery teams. In the Northeast, for example, the contractor and suppliers use the E-ZPass system. However, during SuperStorm Sandy, many external power teams, vendors and contractors were blocked at the toll booth because they generally worked outside the E-ZPass system. Michael Hyland, senior vice president of engineering services at the American Public Power Association (APPA), said distribution services companies have been helping each other in their distress for more than a century. The association, which serves as a link between the stadtwerke and the federal government, coordinates the entire national movement of member associations through its mutual assistance programme. “Kansas is one of the worst states because you have to work at 100 degrees Fahrenheit and below zero,” said Sherman, who works in the industrial


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