'Be Prepared': The Motto of Boy Scouts and Utility Restoration Managers

Davis, Kathleen
September 2003
Utility Automation;Sep/Oct2003, Vol. 8 Issue 5, p16
The article discusses the issue of combating the impact of various disasters on electric power transmission in the U.S. in relation to the strategies employed by electric utilities, Georgia Power Co. and Jackson Energy Authority. Georgia Power is an investor-owned utility serving two million customers in 57,000 of Georgia's 59,000 square miles. To prepare for disasters as varied as hurricanes, microbursts and tornados — as well as the occasional, if unusual, snow, ice or blackout — across such a wide area, Georgia Power has begun training its emergency employees using a two-hour interactive computer simulation. On initial rollout, this interactive simulation has only one scenario — the ice storm — but the scenario itself contains approximately a dozen separate interior events. Accordingly, each employee working through the program must assess, prioritize, dispatch and manage the outages. On the other hand, Jackson Energy Authority in Jackson, Tennessee has been struck by a tornado on May 4, 2003. In its aftermath, the utility was faced with connecting 28,000 customers, including several companies like Proctor & gamble and Nissan. The utility managed to complete the task in two weeks and credit their "bunker" for disaster recovery as a major part of that process. The bunker, which was installed after a 2001 tornado, houses the utility's response and communications team. Three levels underground, it withstood the force of the storm.


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