Southern Company, along with Louisville Gas and Electric Company and Kentucky Utilities Co. (LG&E and KU), PPL Electric Utilities and the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), have announced a new initiative designed to enhance the resiliency and reliability of the power grid by providing additional sources for obtaining critical equipment following disastrous events.
The initiative, Regional Equipment Sharing for Transmission Outage Restoration (known as RESTORE), will establish a voluntary program where participants identify spare transformers and other transmission equipment that would be made available for purchase by other participants should they experience a widespread disaster or physical attack within their service area.
"Utility partnerships are critical to successful recovery following disaster situations," Southern Company Chief Transmission Officer Billy Ball said. "Southern Company has a history of helping our neighbors in times of need, and the RESTORE program will continue that legacy while preparing for the threats facing the grid today. This joint effort is intended to not only strengthen overall grid resiliency, but also benefit the customers we serve by adding flexibility to our recovery plans."
"Just as our electric distribution-focused mutual assistance partnerships have played a critical role in helping to mitigate the impact of natural disasters or other types of emergencies on the systems of partnership participants and their customers, we believe the RESTORE initiative will prove just as beneficial to the electric transmission system and power grid as a whole," LG&E and KU Vice President of Transmission Tom Jessee said. "Establishing these types of relationships and being able to call on neighboring utilities at a moment's notice will mean a more efficient response and expedited recovery when experiencing these types of emergencies."
"Availability of equipment and timely delivery are often critical to successful restoration during disaster recovery," TVA Senior Vice President of Transmission and Power Delivery Bob Dalrymple said. "TVA is always looking for opportunities to continue and improve our mission of service to the people of the Tennessee Valley and our neighbors. The RESTORE program provides an opportunity for utilities to join together and work for the common good of the region and overall resilience of the transmission grid."
"At PPL, we continue to pursue solutions to maintain the safety and security of the power grid, and to address any issues related to the reliability of our nation's power supply," PPL Electric Utilities Vice President of Transmission and Substations Stephanie Raymond said. "Joining a collaborative initiative like RESTORE increases our ability to resolve grid reliability issues to meet the needs of our customers in times of an emergency."
The RESTORE program is intended to expand to include other utilities in the region. The founding companies plan to engage other utilities and transmission owners in their respective regions to discuss their interest in the program. The program would not replace other industry programs or internal sparing processes, but will have a complementary role.