The Edison Electric Institute (EEI) recently announced the recipients of the EEI's 2020 Emergency Response Awards.
Presented to EEI member companies, the Emergency Response Awards recognize recovery and assistance efforts of electric companies following service disruptions caused by extreme weather or other natural events. The winners were chosen by a panel of judges following an international nomination process, and the awards were presented during the EEI's virtual winter board and chief executives meeting.
"Over the past year, many of our nation's electric companies and their customers have endured historic storms, wildfires, and other significant weather-related events," said EEI President Tom Kuhn. "Working around the clock to restore power safely and quickly to customers and deploying mutual assistance crews to support impacted companies are hallmarks of the electric power industry. When disasters strike, impacted and neighboring electric companies are quick to assess damage and to respond and assist with restoration."
CenterPoint Energy was awarded six Emergency Response Awards for the company's work following Hurricanes Delta, Hannah, Isaias, Laura, Sally, and Zeta.
"These awards reflect CenterPoint Energy's commitment to always being there for communities in need. In 2020, 800 mutual assistance employees, contractors, and support personnel helped restore power to customers in Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, New York, and Texas," said Kenny Mercado, CenterPoint Energy's executive vice president, electric utility.
Entergy Corp. received five response awards, including recovery awards for Hurricane Laura and severe thunderstorms last April, and assistance awards for Hurricanes Sally, Isaias, and Hanna.
"My thanks to our employees and mutual assistance partners for their commitment in response to an unprecedented year of storms during the pandemic," said Willie Wilson, Entergy's system storm incident commander. "I am grateful for those who stepped up to ensure we were able to restore power while remaining focused on the safety and health of our stakeholders, including our employees, customers and communities."
FirstEnergy Corp. earned recognition for its emergency response efforts for the 15th consecutive year. The utility received both the Emergency Recovery Award for safely and efficiently restoring service to more than 800,000 of its New Jersey and Pennsylvania customers following Tropical Storm Isaias and the Emergency Assistance Award for its efforts to help Entergy with restoration efforts in Texas and Louisiana following Hurricane Laura, both of which occurred in August 2020.
"When severe weather impacts our customers, we have well-developed storm restoration plans that are quickly implemented to reduce their outage time and keep them safe," said Sam Belcher, senior vice president of FirstEnergy and president of FirstEnergy Utilities. "This award recognizes the efforts of our crews in the field who worked safely around the clock in difficult, and sometimes hazardous, conditions to help our customers and the customers of our partner utilities."
The Dayton Power and Light Co. (DP&L), a subsidiary of The AES Corp., was given the EEI's Emergency Assistance Award for its efforts to restore electric service to impacted customers in the greater Philadelphia area following Hurricane Isaias in August 2020. The DP&L received the EEI Emergency Assistance Award in 2018 for the Nor'easter and Hurricane Irma, and again received the award in 2017 following Hurricane Matthew.
"It is a great honor for the DP&L to receive the EEI Emergency Assistance Award, which acknowledges the hard work, dedication, and sacrifices our crews make to safely restore power and support our mutual aid partners. Crews worked long hours and followed all COVID-19 protocols while working tirelessly to restore electric service to impacted customers following Hurricane Isaias," said Kristina Lund, DP&L president and CEO. "We are proud to answer the call and help with the critical restoration efforts for our neighboring electric companies in times of need."
Georgia Power was awarded the EEI's Emergency Recovery Award for its power restoration efforts after Hurricane Zeta, and the Emergency Assistance Award for help provided to out-of-state utilities following Hurricane Isaias. The utility has earned the Emergency Recovery Award nine times, including as recently as 2020. This is the sixth time Georgia Power has earned the Emergency Assistance Award.
"It is always an honor to be recognized by the EEI for our storm response efforts, but this year it means a little more because our team had the unprecedented task of not only responding to a historic hurricane season, but responding during a pandemic," said Chris Womack, president of Georgia Power. "It is truly a testament to the unwavering commitment of our team to restore power as safely and quickly as possible for our customers and our neighbors when a storm hits."