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August 2020

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Photo: Courtesy Entergy.
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Electric Companies Respond to Hurricane Laura
Last week, Hurricane Laura caused extensive damage across Louisiana and in parts of Texas, Arkansas, and Mississippi. More than 29,000 workers from at least 29 states, D.C., and Canada continue to assess damage in the hardest-hit communities and are restoring power to customers when and where they can, provided it is safe to do so. As of 8:00 a.m. EDT on August 31, approximately 367,000 customers were without power as a result of the storm, down from a peak of nearly 989,000.* Crews already have restored power to nearly 63 percent of all impacted customers.

Industry and government leaders continue to coordinate at the highest levels through the CEO-led Electricity Subsector Coordinating Council (ESCC) to ensure an effective and efficient response. The ESCC continues to focus on the extent of the damage, particularly to the high-voltage transmission system.

In some communities, storm damage was so catastrophic that energy infrastructure needs to be completely rebuilt before power can be restored. And, in these communities, we know there will be customers who are unable to receive power because of the damage to their homes or businesses.

Crews are encountering fallen trees, downed power lines, widespread debris and damage, and even alligators and other wildlife as they work to access impacted areas and to restore power. Given the COVID-19 pandemic, crews also must follow additional safety protocols that may slow restoration processes.

We know that being without electricity creates hardships and is frustrating during ordinary times. Our thoughts and prayers are with the communities and customers impacted by Laura. Crews will continue working day and night until every customer who is able to receive power is restored.

Power restoration follows a detailed process. The first step is damage assessment, and safety is always the top priority. In some cases, crews may not be able to gain access to the most heavily damaged areas until downed trees and debris are cleared and it is deemed safe for them to enter.

Once damage assessments are complete, crews will continue to work around the clock to restore power to essential services and facilities critical to public health and safety, such as hospitals, nursing homes, fire and police departments, and water systems. Crews then will work to return service to the largest number of residential and business customers in the shortest amount of time. Once major repairs are completed, individual homes and smaller groups of customers are restored.

The energy grid is highly interconnected, and just because customers do not see crews in their neighborhoods or on their streets does not mean that they are not working to restore power. Customers should not touch any electrical equipment that was damaged during the storm. In some cases, customers may need to have a licensed electrician inspect their equipment before power can be restored. An example of this would be a tree falling on the part of a home where wires connect to the house.

To ensure safety, customers should:
  • Never use a generator inside a home, garage, crawl space, or anywhere exhaust fumes can enter into enclosed spaces. Plug appliances directly into the generator; do not connect them to your home’s circuits.
  • Allow restoration workers and other first responders to do their jobs. Stay off roads, beaches, and waterways, and avoid returning home until state emergency officials have indicated it is safe to do so. Having roadways clogged with traffic will only impede restoration efforts.
  • Stay away from standing water and downed or sagging power lines. Assume that all fallen wires and anything touching them are energized.
  • Never place a burning candle near anything that could catch fire or leave one unattended. Extinguish candles before going to sleep.
  • Never approach crews, and please remember the importance of social distancing so our mission-essential workers can continue to work safely.
Follow EEI on Facebook and Twitter and visit our Storm Center​ for the most up-to-date information.

*It is important to remember that outages measure customer meters impacted, not the number of individuals without power. Due to the nature of the storm, customers may have experienced more than one outage.

Storm & Wildfire Response
Photo: Courtesy Pepco.
Storm & Wildfire Response
Electric Companies Are #PoweringThruTogether

EEI and our member companies work together closely, and with partners at every level of government, to streamline restoration efforts and to improve how the industry prepares for, and safely responds to, storms, wildfires, and other major events that cause significant outages. 

Over the past month, our industry has been tested by Mother Nature on several occasions and has come together to restore power—and hope—to impacted customers and communities:

  • ​Simultaneous storms in the Gulf of Mexico (Hurricane Hanna) and the Pacific Ocean (Hurricane Douglas) in late July threatened customers and communities in Texas and Hawaii. Although Douglas was the closest storm on record to pass the island of Oahu, impacts to the Hawaiian Islands were minor. Hanna, in turn, lashed parts of south Texas, where electric companies’ crews and restoration partners worked amid flooding to restore power to impacted customers. 
  • Just days later, Tropical Storm Isaias—the earliest “I”-named storm on record—struck parts of the Caribbean and East Coast, bringing high winds, heavy rains, and destructive tornadoes on its path from Florida through New England. After tracking close to the southeastern Florida coast, the storm made landfall as a Category 1 hurricane in North Carolina before moving north through Virginia and the Mid-Atlantic states and into New England. In all, more than 5 million electricity customers were impacted by Isaias, with the most impacts in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. Electric companies in Isaias' path marshalled an army of more than 26,000 workers from at least 33 states, the District of Columbia, and Canada to restore power—all while carefully following the COVID-19 protocols developed months before. Watch EEI's video​ to learn more.
  • Restoration from damage caused by Isaias in the hardest-hit areas was nearly complete when, on August 10, a massive derecho devastated a wide swath of the Midwest, stretching from Nebraska to Lake Michigan. The derecho’s strong sustained winds—up to 140 miles per hour in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, one of the hardest-hit communities—left a path of devastation in its wake as it destroyed trees, buildings, and crops. Nearly 1.6 million customers lost power after the fast-moving storm, with the most impacts to Iowa, Illinois, and Indiana. Following the derecho, impacted electric companies and their mutual assistance partners worked around the clock to restore power safely and as quickly as possible to customers. Crews from more than 20 states, Canada, and the District of Columbia were mobilized to assist impacted electric companies. See more in EEI's video​.
  • We also are in the middle of an already historic and destructive wildfire season, with hundreds of fires burning across California and the West. EEI member companies are confronting this threat with a comprehensive strategy that includes technology, data analysis, and close partnerships with government agencies and across the sector. We will review this strategy in more detail in the upcoming issue of Electric Perspectives

A Closer Look
A Closer Look
Restoring Power After the Midwest Derecho

​In this video, take a closer look at how EEI's member companies worked to restore power after the midwest derecho, and hear from Zack Sharpe of the Iowa Storm Chasing Network, who saw the storm's power and destruction firsthand.

"A Welcome Sight"
"A Welcome Sight"
Painting Honors Isaias Responders

​Behind the delicate features of this watercolor painting is something more profound: a moment captured in time by artist Lori McQueeney. It is her way of recognizing lineworkers for their hard work after Tropical Storm Isaias left a path of destruction. Watch more​.​

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News From the Hill
News From the Hill
August Highlights Need to Support LIHEAP

​Throughout August—and all year long—EEI and our member companies have emphasized the importance of supporting LIHEAP, the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program. 

LIHEAP is an essential, widely supported federal program that delivers critical short-term aid to some of our nation’s most vulnerable citizens. LIHEAP distributes funding to states, territories, and tribal governments, which in turn use the funds to help low-income households in their jurisdictions with home heating and cooling costs. LIHEAP funds also are used for emergency situations and for weatherization services.

Unlike some federal assistance programs that see their funding increase with need, like Social Security or food stamps, LIHEAP funding must be appropriated annually by Congress. In 2019, approximately 35 million households across the nation were eligible for LIHEAP assistance. Yet, inadequate funding for the program meant that only 6.8 million received basic help to pay their energy bills. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has made LIHEAP even more vital. The National Energy Assistance Directors' Association estimates that 44 million households now are eligible for LIHEAP assistance.

We Stand for Energy has started a petition​ urging Congress to fully fund LIHEAP in FY2021 and to provide additional supplemental funding for the program in the next COVID-19 relief package. And, the National Energy & Utility Affordability Coalition has created a LIHEAP Action Toolkit​ with more information on this critical safety-net program.​​

Register Now
Register Now
EEI 2020: A Virtual Leadership Summit

Register now for EEI's inaugural digital conference, EEI 2020: A Virtual Leadership Summit, September 9-10. Immerse yourself in stimulating, innovative content across 12 breakout sessions covering clean energy, the customer experience, smarter energy infrastructure, and what's next for the electric power industry. ​

Four marquee keynote sessions will feature top industry executives and thought leaders:

  • Following welcome remarks from EEI President Tom Kuhn, EEI Chairman Ben Fowke will moderate a conversation with top company executives to explore how the industry is responding to the global COVID-19 pandemic. Highlights will include the impact on electricity customers, the industry workforce, clean energy, infrastructure, and regulation.
  • EEI's member companies are leading a clean energy transformation and have sharply reduced their carbon emissions, while steadily integrating more renewables into the energy grid. As electric companies weigh even deeper carbon reductions, what are the technologies and policies that will be required? Join this dialogue between DTE Energy Executive Chairman Gerry Anderson, Environmental Defense Fund President Fred Krupp, Natural Resources Defense Council President Gina McCarthy, and Energy Futures Initiative President Ernest Moniz, moderated by IHS CERAWeek Chairman Dan Yergin.
  • Two of the nation’s leading political strategists dissect the 2020 presidential election, just weeks before Election Day. Join the conversation between Karl Rove, the influential adviser to former President George W. Bush, and Jennifer Palmieri, a top strategist for both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, moderated by EEI Executive Vice President Brian Wolff. It will be followed by a live Q&A chat with attendees. This session will begin with the presentation of the EEI Edison Awards, our industry’s highest honor.
  • A traditional highlight in our annual conference, the CEO roundtable is a lively and wide-ranging salon conversation touching on all the top issues on the industry’s landscape: EEI Chairman Ben Fowke, along with EEI Vice Chairmen Gerry Anderson; Warner Baxter (chairman, president & CEO, Ameren); and Pedro Pizarro (president & CEO, Edison International). Moderated by Chris Crane, President & CEO, Exelon Corporation, and EEI’s immediate past chairman.

And, 12 breakout sessions will take you deeper into our industry’s agenda by covering all of today's hot-button issues, from cybersecurity to transportation electrification.

EEI 2020 allows you the flexibility to view programming on your own schedule. You can view content live, with fellow attendees, and participate in live Q&A chat after each session—or watch it all at your convenience and create your own experience. All the content will be archived for you to view again or share with your colleagues.

To ensure the broadest possible engagement in our first major digital conference, registration for EEI 2020 is complimentary to all attendees. View the exciting lineup of speakers and panelists on EEI's website and register today​.

Policy Perspectives
Policy Perspectives
EEI Report Highlights Customer Benefits of Advanced Transmission Technologies

To ensure that they can continue to meet their customers’ needs, EEI’s member companies invest more than $110 billion each year, on average, on generation, transmission, and distribution to make the energy grid smarter, stronger, cleaner, more dynamic, and more secure. A new report from EEI highlights the critical role of advanced technology in the design and deployment of innovative and transformative electric transmission projects and explains how these investments benefit customers.

"America’s Electric Companies: Serving Our Customers and Planning for the Energy Grid of the Future With Electric Transmission Technologies and Innovation" states: "Electric transmission is not only essential to meeting customer energy needs today, it is the key to delivering the energy future that electricity customers want and deserve." It offers case studies of how EEI member companies are developing and deploying advanced transmission technologies to deliver this energy future, all while keeping customer costs low.

According to the study, "FERC should continue to enact flexible regulatory frameworks that incentivize the investment and deployment of transmission technologies that enhance the energy grid and the lives of the nation’s electricity customers."


Sponsored Content
Sponsored Content
Logisticus Group—More Innovation. Less Risk.

Logisticus Group is a minority-owned project management company that specializes in energy transportation and logistics, emergency response, indoor/outdoor warehousing, and technology​ with a strong focus on safety. We believe our processes, technology solutions, personnel, and business model deliver a more predictable, controlled, efficient, and expedited project.

What We're Watching
What We're Watching
Be On the Lookout for Impostor Utility Scams

​Every day, criminals target electric, natural gas, and water customers with impostor utility scams. EEI and our member companies work together with our partners in other sectors through Utilities United Against Scams​ to raise awareness of suspicious behavior and the evolving tactics these criminals use. Learn tips to protect you and your family in EEI's and UUAS's video.

In Memoriam
In Memoriam
EEI Mourns Passing of USEA Executive Director Barry Worthington

​EEI President Tom Kuhn issued the following statement in remembrance of U.S. Energy Association (USEA) Executive Director Barry Worthington:

"We are all shocked and saddened by the news of Barry’s passing. I worked with Barry for many years, and he was a great friend, personally and to our entire industry. Barry was a globally respected and admired expert on energy issues. A tireless worker, he traveled the world in a nonstop search for consensus and innovation. 

"It is not an exaggeration to say that Barry was the heart and soul of the USEA, and his loss will be deeply felt throughout the association and energy communities he called home. 

"Our thoughts and prayers go out to his wife, Louise, and to their children who were the center of his universe."​

Delivering the Future
Delivering the Future
Duke Energy and Tampa Bay Rays Power Through Together

Despite the challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic, EEI's member companies have been #PoweringThruTogether for the customers and communities they are proud to serve. (Read examples of this in our special edition of ​Electric Perspectives​.)

In this same spirit, Duke Energy Florida has joined with the Tampa Bay Rays in the Powering Through Together partnership.

For every home run the Rays hit this baseball season, Duke Energy Florida will donate $1,000 to 211 Tampa Bay Cares, a service connecting residents with local community agencies that provide assistance to meet a wide range of needs, including housing, food, child care, and medical expenses. Duke Energy Florida has committed a minimum of $50,000 to support the organization.

“We know many people are facing financial challenges and personal hardships. We hope this donation will help connect anyone who needs assistance to invaluable services,” said Catherine Stempien, Duke Energy Florida president. “Tune in and watch the Rays knock it out of the park and score big for local families in need. With our long-time partner the Tampa Bay Rays, we are committed to Powering Through Together with our communities.”

“The Rays are excited to work alongside our longtime partners at Duke Energy Florida to help support and sustain the vital needs within our local community,” said Rays President Brian Auld. “This partnership is an important opportunity to give back to the Tampa Bay community through 211 Tampa Bay Cares, and we are proud to support them.”​​

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