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Hurricane Laura: Crews From Across North America Activated to Support Power Restoration

Aug. 27, 2020
Utilities are prepositioning linemen in areas predicted to be the hardest hit, and mutual assistance crews from more than 26 states, D.C. and Canada are en route to help with power restoration.

Hurricane Laura continues to intensify and is expected to make landfall late tonight or early tomorrow morning near the Texas and Louisiana border as a strong category 4 hurricane, bringing destructive winds, heavy rainfall, and catastrophic storm and tidal surge. Electric companies in the path of the hurricane are prepositioning crews and equipment in the areas most likely to be hardest hit, and additional mutual assistance workers from at least 26 states, the District of Columbia, and Canada already are en route to assist with power restoration.

“Hurricane Laura is an extremely dangerous storm that continues to strengthen as it moves through the Gulf,” said EEI President Tom Kuhn. “Electric companies in Laura’s path are mobilized and ready. They have activated their emergency response plans and the industry’s mutual assistance network, are staging equipment, and are coordinating preparation and response efforts with federal, state, and local officials. Based on the intensity and destructive nature of this storm, power restoration efforts could be slowed by prolonged high winds and dangerous and extreme flooding and surge conditions. Safety is our industry’s number one priority, and crews will work around the clock to restore power when and where they can, provided it is safe to do so.”

Power restoration is a team effort, and strong industry-government coordination and cross-sector collaboration are essential. The CEO-led Electricity Subsector Coordinating Council (ESCC), Department of Energy (DOE), Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and FEMA are closely coordinating to support the ongoing preparation and staging activities, and the movement of mutual assistance crews.

The COVID-19 pandemic creates additional challenges for storm response and emergency power restoration. Early in the pandemic, EEI and its member companies worked through the ESCC to develop a resource guide to ensure that processes and procedures are in place to keep the workforce healthy and safe while they work to maintain continuity of operations. 

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