NATIONAL GRID IMPLEMENTS LESSONS LEARNED FROM TROPICAL STORM IRENE
Providence, R.I. – Tropical Storm Irene, which battered Rhode Island and southeastern Massachusetts throughout the day on August 28, 2011, was the most severe storm to hit Rhode Island in 20 years. From the destruction that left more than 344,000 National Grid customers in the state without power and ravaged much of the company’s electric distribution and transmission infrastructure on that day, has come innovation in the way the company prepares for severe weather, allocates its resources to restore power more quickly, and communicates with its customers and public safety officials.
“Considering the amount of damage caused by the storm, the number of customers who were without electricity and the duration of some of those outages, we needed to look at our preparation and restoration practices in a new light,” said Timothy F. Horan, president of National Grid in Rhode Island. “But, first and foremost, we need to continue to strengthen the reliability of the system.”
To do that the company is investing $60 million dollars in its 2012 Infrastructure Safety & Reliability Plan – a program to upgrade power lines, replace poles, install new transformers and improve substation operations throughout the state. Included in that amount is $7.8 million for tree trimming. The company’s 2012 and 2013 vegetation management budget will exceed $16 million and include more than 2,600 miles of power lines.
In addition to the infrastructure improvements, the company initiated a complete review of its practices to accomplish the following:
•Enhance outreach to customers as severe weather approaches to advise of potential outages
•Expand use of social media sources to communicate with customers- more -NATIONAL GRID IMPLEMENTS LESSSONS LEARNED FROM TROPICAL STORM IRENE/2
•Provide more extensive notification of impending severe weather to cities and towns and more channels through which municipalities can communicate with the company
•Embed trained company liaisons within communities when needed to provide a direct communications link with the company
•Develop briefing books for each community to include maps of major power lines and key public safety and critical care facilities located along those lines•Better management of wires down situations to free-up local police and fire
•Improve dispatching and tracking of outside crews to speed restoration
•Upgrade information technology to provide the public with better outage and restoration information
•Conduct quarterly sessions with leadership of the Rhode Island National Guard, State Police, Emergency Management Agency and Department of Transportation to facilitate enhancements to the overall state wide response to emergencies.
In addition to these measures, National Grid has asked the Rhode Island Public Utilities Commission to add 21 new positions in Rhode Island. These positions include 19 electrical workers who would be directly involved in the company’s storm preparation and restoration efforts.
National Grid has produced an informational video that is now available. It details some of the reasons for service interruptions, what must be done to restore power safely and quickly and what customers can do in the event of an outage. The video can be viewed on the Outage Central page of the company’s website at www1.nationalgridus.com/OutageCentralHub. It is also available on YouTube: www.youtube.com/watch?v=7GTUh9pR-Ag&feature=youtu.be.NATIONAL GRID
National Grid (LSE: NG; NYSE:NGG) is an electricity and gas company that connects consumers to energy sources through its networks. The company is at the heart of one of the greatest challenges facing our society - to create new, sustainable energy solutions for the future and developing an energy system that underpins economic prosperity in the 21st century. National Grid holds a vital position at the center of the energy system and it ‘joins everything up’.
In the northeast US, we connect more than seven million gas and electric customers to vital energy sources, essential for our modern lifestyles. In Great Britain, we run the gas and electricity systems that our society is built on, delivering gas and electricity across the country.
National Grid delivers electricity to more than 3.2 million customers in Massachusetts, New York and Rhode Island. It manages the electricity network on Long Island under an agreement with the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA), and owns over 4,000 megawatts of contracted electricity generation, providing power to over one million LIPA customers. It is the largest distributor of natural gas in northeastern U.S., serving approximately 3.3 million customers in New York, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island.
For more information please visit our website: www.nationalgridus.com.
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