Utilities earn kudos for exemplary disaster response

Rancho Mirage


In recognition of exemplary efforts to respond to some of the worst local storms on record, six electric utilities-from Oklahoma and the East Coast-are winners of the Edison Electric Institute (EEI) national Emergency Response Award. Another five companies are winners of Emergency Assistance Awards.

EEI`s Emergency Response Award recognizes companies that faced down natural events and demonstrated outstanding effort to restore service to customers. Emergency Assistance Awards recognize companies that provided prompt and significant aid to electric utility recovery efforts outside their own service territories.

This year`s Emergency Response Award winners are:

– Carolina Power & Light Co., Raleigh, N.C., for its response to the effects of Hurricane Floyd, September 1999. The hurricane affected more than 537,000 customers, 30,000 miles of power line and outages in 90 percent of CP&L`s territory.

– Duke Power, Charlotte, N.C., for its recovery efforts following ice storms affecting separate portions of its service territory on consecutive holiday weekends, Christmas 1998 and New Year`s 1999. The first ice wave interrupted service to 200,000 customers; the second knocked out 374,000.

– Florida Power & Light Co., Juno Beach, Fla., for its response to Hurricane Irene, and associated tornadoes and flooding, October 1999. The storm affected 1.7 million customers and 40,000 miles of line in 80 percent of FP&L`s territory.

– OGE Energy Corp., Oklahoma City, Okla., for its response to the effects of an outbreak of 51 tornadoes, including an F-5 in Oklahoma City (strongest ever recorded with 318 mph winds), May 1999. The storms killed 44 people; knocked out electric service for more than 167,000 people; destroyed 57 transmission towers; blew away more than 1,400 distribution poles and 850 transformers. Electric service was restored to all customers in six days.

– Potomac Electric Power Co., Washington, D.C., for its response to the effects of an ice storm in January 1999, and a lightning and wind storm that hit during the recovery effort. Nearly a quarter-million people-one-third of its customers-lost power; 41 percent of the company`s service territory and 6,400 miles of power line were affected by the ice and falling tree limbs.

– Virginia Power, Richmond, Va., for its response to two hurricanes: Dennis, Aug. 29-Sept. 5, 1999, and Floyd, September 1999. The storms combined to produce a 1-in-700 year flooding event. The first hurricane knocked out service to 270,000 customers; the second interrupted 820,000 customers-more than 40 percent of the company`s customers in more than 60 percent of its service territory.

The following received Emergency Assistance Awards:

– Alabama Power Co., Birmingham, Ala., for assistance offered in Georgia and the Carolinas following Hurricane Floyd, September 1999. Alabama Power sent more than 600 trucks and 1,400 crewmembers.

– Allegheny Power, Hagerstown, Md., for multiple instances in which the company pitched in with a significant workforce and resources from September 1998 through September 1999. During the period, Allegheny Power came to the assistance of electric utilities 15 times, including Rochester Gas & Electric, Consumers Energy, Virginia Power (twice), Washington Co-op, Duquesne Light (twice), Public Service Electric and Gas, First Energy (twice), Detroit Edison, Pennsylvania Power & Light, PECO (twice) and Baltimore Gas & Electric.

– AmerenCIPS, Springfield, Ill., which leapt to the assistance of: Commonwealth Edison following a catastrophic wind storm, November 1999, that affected nearly a half-million ComEd customers; Detroit Edison, July 31-Aug. 4, 1999, after powerful storms swept southeastern Michigan, brought down more than 2,200 power lines and left more than 230,000 people without power; and Baltimore Gas & Electric, September 1999, in the wake of Hurricane Floyd, which cut service to nearly a half-million BG&E customers.

– American Electric Power, Columbus, Ohio, for its assistance to Virginia Power, Baltimore Gas & Electric, and Carolina Power & Light in the wake of Hurricane Floyd, September 1999. AEP provided more than 125 trucks and nearly 300 employees for nine days at the height of the emergency in Maryland, Virginia, and North Carolina.

– Entergy Corp., New Orleans, La., for its swift assistance to Florida Power & Light, South Carolina Gas & Electric, Carolina Power & Light, and Virginia Power with more than 665 crew members and 350 trucks following Hurricane Floyd, September 1999.

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