Restoring power after a major storm is a complex task that must be completed as quickly as possible. A speedy restoration requires significant logistical expertise, along with plenty of skilled line workers and specialized equipment. Electric companies affected by significant outages frequently call on other utilities for assistance to help speed restoration. This practice is known as mutual assistance.
Mutual assistance is an essential part of electric utility business continuity planning: The affected company is able to increase the size of its workforce by "borrowing" line workers from other utilities, but only has to pay for those extra crews during times of need. In 1955, EEI's Transmission & Distribution Committee established the EEI Mutual Assistance Network, which has become the cornerstone of member assistance during emergencies. EEI also hosts the annual Mutual Assistance Conference.
EEI's Mutual Assistance Conference is a forum for utilities to:
- Debrief the industry on outage events that have taken place over the last year.
- Give utilities and contractors an opportunity to share lessons learned when responding to storms.
- Allow restoration managers to learn about technologies and products that could assist them during future storms.
- Allow utilities to provide EEI feedback on RestorePower and the Mutual Assistance Network.
- Provide an opportunity to review and suggest policy initiatives.
The meetings are open to all electric utilities, contractors, and vendors that request or provide support or services during electrical outage events.
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