WASHINGTON (May 31, 2023) — With active hurricane and wildfire seasons predicted again this year, the Edison Electric Institute (EEI) and our member companies remind customers that now is the time to prepare for extreme weather events and other emergencies that could cause extended power outages. Proactively taking simple steps to get ready now can be greatly beneficial if, and when, an emergency occurs.
“We understand that power outages have a profound impact on the safety and well-being of customers and communities. EEI and its members work with many industry and government partners to be prepared and to respond safely and as quickly as possible when incidents occur,” said Scott Aaronson, EEI’s senior vice president for Security & Preparedness. “Storms, fires, and other threats to the energy grid can strike at any time. While electric companies will respond with urgency, we also recommend that you have a plan for what you might need during a power outage.”
Listen to the most recent episode of EEI's Electric Perspectives podcast to hear U.S. Forest Service Chief Randy Moore and EEI Vice Chair Maria Pope discuss ongoing efforts to enhance industry-government partnership to combat wildfires. Pope, who is president and CEO of Portland General Electric in Oregon, also co-chairs EEI's Wildfire CEO Taskforce and the Electricity Subsector Coordinating Council's Wildfire Working Group.
A hallmark of the electric power industry is mutual assistance. In advance of major storms and following other extreme weather events and natural disasters that strike without notice, electric companies work together to identify potential resource needs and to line up additional personnel, equipment, and supplies that may be needed to support power restoration. This careful preparation allows for a safe entry and a rapid, organized response in the affected areas.
“Following natural disasters, lineworkers and crews from across the United States and Canada come together to restore power to impacted communities,” Aaronson added. “While we understand that customers may want to ask questions or show their appreciation to crews during emergency power restorations, it is critical that they keep a safe distance from lineworkers and other mission-essential employees during all response efforts.”
Here are tips and resources to help you prepare your emergency plan and emergency outage kit:
- Visit www.ready.gov to learn how to plan, be prepared, and act in your community.
- Review EEI's hurricane safety tips and wildfire safety tips. For more hurricane safety and preparation tips, visit the National Hurricane Survival Initiative. For more wildfire safety tips, visit www.ready.gov/wildfires.
- Develop an emergency plan that addresses any special medical needs you or your family members have. Call your local emergency management office to discuss necessary arrangements.
- Have your emergency outage kit stocked and readily available.
- Know all evacuation routes. If you or anyone you know has special needs that may complicate an evacuation, contact your local emergency management office for guidance. Find the phone number at www.FEMA.gov.
- Pay attention to local weather reports on the radio, television, and online.
- Stock up on non-perishable food, water, medications, and any other necessities to avoid the need for travel during a storm. If you live in an area where evacuations may be necessary, be sure to research any changes to local policies that may have been made due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Learn what to do in case of a power outage.
- Make sure your contact information is current with your local electric company so you can receive any status or safety updates the company might put out during an emergency. Be sure to follow your electric company on social media for real-time updates.