With Hurricane Isaias approaching Florida and threatening the entire East Coast, Edison Electric Institute (EEI) is urging customers in potentially vulnerable regions to prepare now by developing an emergency plan and ensuring their outage kits are fully stocked and easily accessible.
"EEI's member companies in the path of Hurricane Isaias have activated their emergency response plans and stand ready to restore any power outages caused by the storm safely and as quickly as possible," said Scott Aaronson, EEI vice president of security and preparedness. "The health and safety of our crews and our customers is a top priority for the electric power industry. Given the COVID-19 pandemic, EEI member companies are following enhanced safety protocols to protect our customers and our crews. We ask for our customers' patience as these additional precautions may slow some restoration processes. We know electricity is critical and our entire industry stands ready to support those who may be impacted by this storm."
Early in the COVID-19 pandemic, EEI and its member companies worked under the Electricity Subsector Coordinating Council (ESCC) to develop a resource guide to ensure procedures were in place to keep its workforce healthy and safe. A major focus was developing COVID-19 protocols for emergency power restoration. These protocols were put to the test during the deadly storms that hit 21 states on Easter weekend, and, most recently, during Hurricanes Hanna and Douglas. Updates to the protocols were made based on the lessons learned by impacted electric companies.
"When outages occur, we understand that customers may want to ask questions or thank the lineworkers who are restoring their power," said Aaronson. "Please remember the importance of social distancing so that our mission-essential workers are able to continue to work safely."
Customers and communities also share a responsibility to prepare for emergencies and ensure they have a plan in place. EEI is offering customers the following tips to help them prepare:
- Visit www.ready.gov to learn how to plan, be prepared, and act in your community.
- Review EEI's hurricane safety tips. For more hurricane safety and preparation tips, visit the National Hurricane Survival Initiative.
- Develop an emergency plan that addresses any special medical needs. Call a local emergency management office to discuss necessary arrangements.
- Have an emergency outage kit stocked and readily available.
- Pay attention to local weather reports on the radio, television, and internet.
- Stock up on non-perishable food, water, medications, and any other necessities to avoid the need for travel during a storm. If you live in an area where evacuations may be necessary, research any changes to local policies that may have been made because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Learn what to do in case of a power outage.
- Make sure your contact information is current with your local electric company so that you receive any status or safety updates the company puts out in case of an emergency. Follow your electric company on social media for real-time updates.