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May 2020

Top Story
Top Story
Be Prepared for Hurricane and Wildfire Seasons

As the 2020 hurricane and wildfire seasons begin, EEI and our member companies—America’s investor-owned electric companies—are reminding customers to prepare now for storms, wildfires, and other emergencies that could cause power outages. Proactively taking simple steps to get ready now can pay great dividends if, and when, an emergency occurs.

“In 2019, we experienced an active wildfire season and had multiple major hurricanes impact communities along the Atlantic coast,” said Scott Aaronson, EEI’s vice president for security and preparedness. “Based on current forecasts, our nation’s electric companies are expecting and preparing for another active storm and wildfire season this year. Given that we also remain in a pandemic, EEI’s member companies have put in place COVID-19 protocols to ensure the safety of our workforce and our customers throughout any emergency response.”

Mutual assistance is a hallmark of the electric power industry. In advance of major storms and following 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.

Early on in the COVID-19 pandemic, EEI and its member companies worked through the Electricity Subsector Coordinating Council (ESCC) to develop a resource guide to ensure that processes and procedures are in place to keep our workforce healthy and safe while we work to maintain continuity of operations. A major focus was developing COVID-19 protocols for emergency power restoration. These protocols were put to the test during the deadly storms that hit 21 states Easter weekend, and updates were made based on the lessons learned by impacted electric companies.

“It's more important than ever that customers keep a safe distance from lineworkers and other essential employees as they perform critical work in our communities,” said Aaronson. “Safety is our top priority. We understand that people may want to ask questions or thank crews during emergency power restorations. Please remember the importance of practicing social distancing so all remain healthy and our mission-essential workers are able to perform their work safely.”

​Customers and communities also share a responsibility to prepare for emergencies, and we encourage them to start today so that they have a plan in place and a stocked emergency outage kit that is readily available should a major disaster strike.

Here is how you can prepare now:
  • ​Visit www.ready.gov to learn how to plan, be prepared, and act in your community.
  • Review EEI's hurricane safety tips and ready.gov’s wildfire safety tips. For more hurricane safety and preparation tips, visit the National Hurricane Survival Initiative.
  • 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 live close to the coast. If you or anyone you know has special needs in case of evacuation, contact your local emergency management office. Find the phone number at www.FEMA.gov
  • Pay attention to local weather reports on the radio, television, and Internet.
  • 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.

Happening Now
Photo courtesy Peco.
Happening Now
EEI Member Companies Continue #PoweringThruTogether

​EEI's member companies are working around the clock to keep the lights on and to help their customers and employees stay safe throughout the COVID-19, or coronavirus, pandemic. As states and communities begin the process of reopening, electric companies are continuing to work safely to protect customers and crews and to deliver America's energy future. We are committed to #PoweringThruTogether.

Here are three facts you should know about EEI member companies' response to the pandemic:

  1. The electric power industry has developed extensive pandemic protocols for the safety of our employees and our customers and will continue to operate under these guidelines. Working through the Electricity Subsector Coordinating Council, the industry has created a resource guide that continues to evolve as lessons are learned in real time.
  2. EEI's member companies are #poweringthrutogether for their customers and communities, and are working tirelessly to help them, along with the first responders and healthcare workers who are on the front lines, and their own employees who need extra support and resources during the COVID-19 crisis. Find examples on EEI's website and Wakelet tracker
  3. For EEI member companies, the health and safety of our customers and communities is always paramount—especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Access to reliable electricity is a matter of health and safety. As announced on March 19, all EEI member companies have suspended electricity disconnects for non-payment. 
Visit EEI's website, Twitter account, and Facebook page for the latest news and resources about the electric power industry's response to COVID-19.

What We're Watching
EEI Salutes Our Nation's Electric Company Workers
What We're Watching

Delivering Innovation
Delivering Innovation
EEI Announces Edison Award Finalists

EEI has announced the finalists for the 2020 U.S. and International Edison Award. Since 1922, the Edison Award has recognized EEI member companies for their distinguished leadership, innovation, and contribution to the advancement of the electric power industry. The Edison Award is regarded as the industry’s most prestigious honor.

An independent panel of reviewers has selected Consumers Energy, Dominion Energy, NV Energy and PacifiCorp, Southern Company, and Xcel Energy as finalists for this year’s Edison Award. ATCO and Compagnie Ivoirienne d’Electricité were selected as finalists for the International Edison Award. NV Energy and PacifiCorp submitted a joint application.

“EEI’s member companies are committed to delivering a cleaner, smarter, and stronger energy future for the customers and communities they serve,” said EEI President Tom Kuhn. “The projects and technologies deployed by each of the finalists provide terrific examples of the exceptional work being done across our industry, both in the United States and around the world. Each of the finalists is truly deserving of this outstanding recognition.”

The winners of the 92nd Edison Award will be selected by a panel of former electric company chief executives. Learn more about the finalists’ innovative projects in EEI's press release​.


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In the News
In the News
EEI Responds to Grid Security Order

​On May 1, President Trump signed Executive Order 13920 to secure the U.S. bulk-power system.

EEI President Tom Kuhn commented, “EEI and our member companies appreciate that President Trump, through his new executive order, continues to make energy grid security a priority for his administration and for our nation. We long have maintained that grid security is a shared responsibility, and addressing dynamic threats to the grid requires vigilance and coordination that leverages both government and industry resources. 

“EEI’s member companies, through the CEO-led Electricity Subsector Coordinating Council, work closely with the Department of Energy (DOE) to address underlying threats to supply chain security. This order reflects this ongoing collaboration with the federal government and provides new ways to mitigate threats to electric-sector critical infrastructure.

“Reliable electricity and a secure energy grid are essential to the nation’s economy and our way of life. We look forward to our continued partnership with the administration and to working with DOE and other government stakeholders to implement this new EO, and we will continue to ensure that we are sourcing critical equipment from reputable manufacturers.”



Company Spotlight
Company Spotlight
SCE Plans to Add Energy Storage Projects

​​Southern California Edison (SCE), like all EEI member companies, is driving clean energy innovation as it works to deliver an energy future that is cleaner, smarter, and stronger for its customers. In May, SCE announced that it will add massive amounts of energy storage to its system to integrate more renewable energy and increase energy grid reliability.

SCE has signed seven contracts for a combined 770 megawatts (MW) of battery-based energy storage to help enhance California’s electric system reliability needs. When finished, these resources will exceed the total amount of new storage capacity added nationwide in 2019, which was 523 MW, according to the Energy Storage Association and Wood Mackenzie.

Most of SCE’s storage projects will be co-located with existing universal solar power plants, allowing the company to ensure that it has the capacity to store renewable energy and deploy it during peak demand times. These projects will be the first of their kind on California’s energy grid.

“These new emissions-free projects will help us ensure the reliability of the grid for our customers and integrate an ever-increasing amount of clean renewable energy over the next decade,” said William Walsh, SCE vice president of energy procurement and management.

These projects will assist in integrating renewable energy into the grid from variable wind and solar resources and also will help the state transition its energy profile, as several large coastal power plants are scheduled to retire over the next three years.

In addition, these projects will help address potential energy shortfalls identified in California. Last year, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) authorized electric companies to solve potential reliability losses in the state electric supply that stem from the retirement of aging natural gas plants, the increasing levels of solar and wind energy that need to be integrated into the system, and shifts in peak demand times.

If the contracts are approved by the CPUC, the company aims to have the projects online by August 2021.

“Signing these contracts aligns with SCE’s Pathway 2045, continues our support of California’s goal to green the state and also encourages clean energy projects of all types, creating jobs and strengthening our economy,” said Walsh.

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Safety First
Safety First
Prevent Electrical Accidents With These Tips

May is National Electrical Safety Month, but every day, EEI and our member companies work to ensure that customers stay safe. As so many families work, study, and play at home this summer, knowing how to stay safe while using electrical equipment is imperative. Electrical malfunctions account for 35,000 home fires each year, causing more than 1,300 injuries, 500 deaths, and $1.4 billion in property damage. 

Electricity powers our lives. Stay safe while you use it with these tips from the Electrical Safety Foundation International.

Extension Cord Tips

  • Keep in mind that extension cords are a temporary solution, and they are not meant to be used as a constant, long-term extension of your household’s electrical system. Continuous use can cause an extension cord to deteriorate over time and can result in a potentially dangerous electric shock or fire hazard.
  • Never plug two extension cords together. Doing so can result in overloaded circuits, short circuits, and damaged cords, which could lead to fires or electric shocks.
  • Do not run an extension cord through walls, doorways, ceilings, or under rugs or carpet. If the cord is covered, heat cannot escape, which can create a fire hazard.
  • Install additional outlets where you need them. If you rely too much on extension cords, you likely have too few outlets to meet your needs.
  • Make sure that any extension cord or temporary power strip you use is rated for the products to be plugged in and is marked for either indoor or outdoor use.
  • The appliance or tool that you are using the cord with will have a wattage rating on it. Match this with your extension cord, and do not use a cord that has a lower rating.
  • Never use a cord that feels hot or is damaged in any way. Touching even a single exposed strand can give you an electric shock or burn.
  • Never use three-prong plugs with outlets that only have two slots for the plug. Do not cut off the ground pin to force a fit. This defeats the purpose of a three-prong plug and could lead to an electrical shock.
  • Never force a plug into an outlet if it doesn’t fit.
  • Use extension cords with polarized and/or three-prong plugs.
  • Buy only cords approved by an independent testing laboratory, such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL), Intertek (ETL), or Canadian Standards Association (CSA).

Indoor Safety Tips

  • Never plug a space heater or fan into an extension cord or power strip.
  • Avoid overloading your electrical systems. Label your circuit breakers to understand the different circuits in your home, have a qualified electrician install new circuits for high-energy use devices, and reduce your electrical load by using energy-efficient appliances and lighting. If your home is more than 40 years old or has had a major appliance installed recently, have your home inspected by a qualified electrician.
  • Unplug appliances when they are not in use to save energy and minimize the risk of shock or fire.
  • Regularly inspect electrical cords and extension cords for damage.
  • Make sure cords do not become tripping hazards. Be mindful of where you are plugging in devices.
  • Keep papers and other potential combustibles at least 3 feet away from space heaters and other heat sources.
  • Make sure you use proper wattage for lamps/lighting.
  • Make sure your home has smoke alarms. Test them monthly, change batteries yearly, and replace the unit every 10 years.

Outdoor Safety Tips

  • Know what’s below before you dig. Dial 8-1-1 to have a local electric or natural gas company representative mark the location of underground lines for free.
  • Never touch downed power lines. 
  • Watch for overhead power lines every time you use a ladder, work on roofs and trees, or carry long tools or loads. Keep kites, model airplanes, and metallic balloons away from power lines.
  • Do not overload electrical and/or extension cords or allow them to run through water or snow on the ground.


In Case You Missed It
In Case You Missed It
Numbers to Know About Electric Companies' Clean Energy Leadership

​EEI’s member companies have led a dramatic change in our nation’s energy mix over the past decade, making significant strides in carbon reduction, deployment of renewable energy resources, and more. They are united in their commitment to get the energy they provide as clean as they can, as fast as they can, while keeping reliability and affordability front and center as always. They also are promoting the key role that electrification can play in helping reduce emissions from other sectors, particularly the transportation and industrial sectors. 

Here are five key facts to know about the clean energy transformation:

  1. Electric companies invest more than $110 billion each year to make the energy grid stronger, smarter, cleaner, more dynamic, and more secure; to diversify the nation’s energy mix; and to integrate new technologies that benefit customers.
  2. Today, almost 40 percent of our electricity comes from carbon-free sources (including nuclear energy, hydropower, wind, and solar energy).
  3. Over the past eight years, more than half of new electricity generation was wind and solar. Electric companies provide virtually all of the wind and 67 percent of the solar energy in the country.
  4. As of year-end 2019, the electric power sector’s carbon dioxide emissions were at their lowest level since 1987 and are down one-third compared to 2005 levels. Among EEI’s member companies, carbon emissions have been reduced even more and were 45 percent below 2005 levels as of year-end 2019. 
  5. The electric power industry’s energy efficiency programs avoided the generation of 149 million metric tons of carbon emissions and saved enough electricity to power 26 million U.S. homes for one year in 2018, the latest year for which data are available. 

Learn more in this factsheet from the Institute for Electric Innovation and in EEI’s clean energy infographic​.


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