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Electric Power Industry Responds to Hurricane Florence

Earlier this month, Hurricane Florence’s strong winds, heavy rain, storm surge, and inland flooding brought widespread power outages and catastrophic damage to the Carolinas. Impacted electric companies reported that they restored power to more than 1.9 million customers, or approximately 97 percent, one week after Florence made landfall. ​

Days before the storm arrived, electric companies in Florence’s path activated their emergency response plans; mobilized restoration workers and staging equipment; and coordinated their preparation and response efforts with federal, state, and local government officials. 

Once the storm hit, crews worked around the clock to restore power where it was safe and conditions allowed. As the storm progressed, electric companies reallocated resources strategically to ensure a safe and efficient response. 

The electric power industry’s response to Hurricane Florence included an army of more than 40,000 workers from investor-owned electric companies, public power utilities, and electric cooperatives—from across the United States and Canada. This workforce included crews and support personnel from affected companies, contractor resources, and additional workers from mutual assistance partners outside the expected impact area. Additional electric companies outside of the storm zone monitored and assessed the situation and stood ready to provide assistance.

During and after Florence, the electric power industry worked through the CEO-led Electricity Subsector Coordinating Council (ESCC) to ensure unity of effort across the highest levels of industry and government. Senior officials from the Department of Energy, Department of Homeland Security, and FEMA held daily coordination calls with the CEOs of electric companies in the path of Hurricane Florence to support the restoration effort. 

See EEI's Florence page​ to learn more.

In the News
In the News
National Drive Electric Week Showcases Customer Benefits of EVs

​Throughout National Drive Electric Week, September 8–16, electric companies and their technology partners highlighted the many ways electrifying transportation benefits customers and communities. In addition to electric vehicles (EVs), electrification is taking hold in public transit, delivery vehicles, ride-sharing applications, ports and airports, and more. During Drive Electric Week, more than 300 events across the country—ranging from tailgate parties to EV parades and ride-and-drives—showcased how electric transportation increases efficiency and improves sustainability, economic growth, and energy security.

A recent report​ from EEI shows that approximately 920,000 EVs are on the road in the United States, and that total EV sales for January to July 2018 are up 48 percent compared to the same time period in 2017.

As cities and communities seek smart, sustainable mobility solutions, electric companies are partnering with many stakeholders to support the growth of EVs and to provide the needed charging infrastructure in America’s cities and communities. For example:

  • ​Southern California Edison (SCE) celebrated the installation of the 1,000th EV charging station under its Charge Ready pilot program at the end of May. The company expects to have installed 1,250 charging stations at more than 60 locations when the pilot concludes at the end of this year. SCE has proposed expanding the program to support the installation of 48,000 more charging stations and investing $760 million over four years.
  • Hawaiian Electric Companies is a partner in Drive Electric Hawaii (DEH), a coalition of public, private, and nonprofit organizations that share the vision of enhancing transportation electrification as an essential part of meeting the state’s clean energy goals. The mayors of Hawaii’s four counties recently signed a DEH memorandum of understanding to eliminate fossil fuels from ground transportation across the state by 2045. In addition to promoting EV use, Hawaiian Electric is working with customers like airports and harbors to electrify ground equipment including tugs and cranes.

Learn more about transportation electrification in EEI’s factsheet​.

News From the Hill
News From the Hill
Electric Power Industry Outlines Cybersecurity Strategies

​Grid security is a top priority for the electric power industry. Electric companies, electric cooperatives, and public power companies work together through the CEO-led Electricity Subsector Coordinating Council (ESCC) to confront constantly evolving threats to the energy grid and to coordinate with federal and state governments. The industry prepares and plans for all types of threats that relate to cyber or physical security, whether manmade or natural, malicious or unintentional.

To highlight these efforts, ESCC Co-Chair Tom Fanning, chairman, president and CEO of Southern Company, recently testified before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism. “Securing critical infrastructure from all threats—but particularly from new and evolving cyber threats—is a defining challenge for our nation,” Fanning said. “The threat to critical infrastructure and to our way of life is growing, but so is the work that is underway to prepare our systems, to prevent attacks in the first place, to detect intrusions, to respond to issues, and to recover quickly. That work is enhanced through our work within industries and across sectors and with the strong support from government partners at all levels.”

EEI also joined the American Public Power Association (APPA) and the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) on a letter​ to Senator Edward Markey (D-MA), responding to a letter he wrote regarding cybersecurity of the energy grid and referencing recent media stories on Russian targeting of critical infrastructure. “Our members were aware of this threat because of outreach from our federal partners,” the joint EEI-NRECA-APPA letter says. “Immediately, we worked across the industry and with government security professionals to increase security measures and to monitor the threat.” The letter also outlines the industry’s many activities over the last five years to enhance the security of the energy grid.

Learn more in EEI's grid security factsheet​.

Industry in Action
Industry in Action
Exelon Innovation Expo Highlights Industry’s Technology Leadership

​Each year, EEI's member companies invest more than $100 billion to build smarter energy infrastructure and to transition to even cleaner generation sources. These investments benefit customers and communities by enhancing electric reliability, reinforcing resiliency, and enabling innovative energy solutions. 

Exelon Corporation is working with partners across the public and private sectors to deliver energy solutions that benefit its customers and communities. To showcase its ef​forts, the company brought together thousands of employees, engineers, energy leaders, and community officials at its 2018 Innovation Expo in Washington, DC. Discussions explored how the company is collaborating with civic leaders to create tomorrow's smart cities, generating cleaner energy, empowering employees, and putting transformation to work for customers. Exelon employees demonstrated how the company is using innovative technologies like drones and virtual reality to enhance reliability and keep costs low for customers.

To showcase the diversity of these innovations, Exelon held a “fast-pitch contest.” More than 250 employee innovators pitched their projects and ideas before a panel of judges that included Daymond John of ABC’s Shark Tank. Top honors in the contest were awarded to a partnership between Pepco Holdings and The Precisionists, Inc. (TPI) that provides meaningful employment to adults with autism. The program, launched late last year, creates new positions for autistic adults to conduct project-based work for Atlantic City Electric, Delmarva Power, and Pepco, including managing and updating databases; supporting the processing of solar application invoices and requests; and entering and analyzing data for the company’s customer care organization. 

“More than 80 percent of adults on the autism spectrum are un- or under-employed. It takes an innovative and committed organization like Pepco Holdings, partnering with The Precisionists and our unique employment model, to create the roadmap for career successes for this talented workforce,” said TPI CEO Ernie Dianastasis.

“It’s amazing what can happen when you unleash creativity, develop and nurture a new concept or idea, and foster a spirit of collaboration and caring. This award-winning program is the essence of innovation and has delivered amazing results by matching highly skilled and deeply focused people with specific jobs that leverage their unique talents,” said Dave Velazquez, president and CEO, Pepco Holdings. 

Photo: Daymond John of ABC's Shark Tank (third from left) joins employees of Exelon, its subsidiaries, and TPI to celebrate the award-winning Pepco-TPI partnership.

What We’re Reading
What We’re Reading
Arizona Public Service’s Don Brandt—Collaborating on Clean Energy

​“Our experience underscores with clarity the need for our industry to find ways to collaborate with diverse stakeholders to deliver the clean, reliable, affordable energy future our customers want,” writes Don Brandt, chairman, president, and CEO of Arizona Public Service, in the latest issue of Electric Perspectives

“We need to articulate a positive vision, one that includes saying yes to the best solutions for tomorrow. One place to start would be to work in meaningful ways toward a true clean energy standard—one that sets ambitious goals, takes an inclusive approach to diverse clean-generation technologies, acknowledges the essential role of complementary technologies like advanced batteries, and puts customers first.”

Read more​.

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Inside EEI
Inside EEI
Celebrating 85 Years of Power by Association

​Take a look back at EEI’s 85 years of representing America’s investor-owned electric companies—and a look to the future—in Electric Perspectives

“EEI and its member companies have revolutionized the American economy and way of life. EEI member companies electrified the nation, introduced new and more sustainable ways to produce electricity, and built the foundation of 85 years of economic growth and job creation,” writes EEI President Tom Kuhn. 

“For all the change we have seen, one thing remains constant: our commitment to delivering the safe, reliable, affordable, and increasingly clean energy customers need. Our 85th anniversary is an opportunity to reflect not just on our mission, but on the achievements of our member companies in delivering America’s energy future.”

Read more​.

Industry Excellence
Industry Excellence
Tom Fanning Receives EEI’s Distinguished Leadership Award

​Southern Company Chairman, President and CEO Tom Fanning has been recognized by his peers on the EEI Board of Directors with EEI’s Distinguished Leadership Award for his significant contributions and commitment to the electric power industry. Fanning is the 10th industry CEO to receive the award. 

“Tom is a terrific leader whose efforts have elevated coordination between the electric power industry and the government to prepare for and respond to national disasters and to better protect the energy grid against physical and cybersecurity threats,” said Dominion Energy Chairman, President and CEO Tom Farrell. “Under his leadership, the Electricity Subsector Coordinating Council (ESCC) was founded and continues to undertake a wide range of security and resiliency initiatives in order to improve the security posture of the energy grid.”

“Tom’s extensive work to enhance the industry’s collaboration with the government in order to defend against threats has been invaluable,” said American Electric Power Chairman, President and CEO Nick Akins. “His leadership and dedication have been a catalyst for major initiatives aimed at improving the security of the energy grid.”

"Because we are successful at delivering clean, safe, reliable, affordable energy, we help people in a very profound way," said Fanning. "We are so privileged to serve the communities in which we live, and because we are there, the communities are better off. There is no higher calling than that."

Among his many accomplishments, Fanning is a co-chair of the CEO-led ESCC, the principal liaison between the federal government and the electric power industry, with the mission of coordinating efforts to prepare for and respond to national disasters and threats to critical infrastructure. Fanning also collaborates with the Tri-Sector Executive Working Group, which was formed by the electricity, finance, and communications sectors to enhance national and economic security by developing a cross-sector strategic framework to address existential threats, risk, and consequence management. He served as EEI Chairman from 2016 to 2017.

“In the era of increased cybersecurity threats and impacts from significant weather events, Tom’s work has never been more important,” said EEI President Tom Kuhn.

Read more in EEI’s press release​.

Photo (L to R): Dominion Energy Chairman, President and CEO Tom Farrell; American Electric Power Chairman, President and CEO Nick Akins; Fanning; EEI President Tom Kuhn.

Sponsored Content
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Happening Now
Happening Now
September Is National Preparedness Month

​Events like Hurricane Florence underscore the importance of preparing for many kinds of emergencies.​ Taking common-sense steps today can make a vital difference tomorrow. During National Preparedness Month this September, EEI and its member companies are emphasizing critical safety messages so that customers know what to do in the event of disasters, such as:

In addition, learn what to do in the event of a power outage and what you should include in an emergency outage kit​.


Innovative Partnerships
Innovative Partnerships
DHS's Christopher Krebs on Collective Cyber Defense

​“It is time to move past reacting to every threat report, spinning up when the latest vulnerability disclosure pops, admonishing IT security staff for missing an open port, or patting ourselves on the back every time we share information across government and industry,” writes Christopher Krebs, Undersecretary of the National Protection and Programs Directorate at the Department of Homeland Security, in the latest issue of Electric Perspectives

“All those elements—threats, vulnerabilities, and consequences—are essential to broadly understanding risk. However…no single actor has all the data points to understand the broader landscape and do much outside the perimeter, whether virtual or physical. Perhaps more challenging, no one entity can act to manage that risk across the board. Even then, the bias is toward reactive, defensive measures rather than strategic actions. It is time for government and industry to move to a framework where we work together to understand what is truly important across our nation’s critical infrastructure; prioritize actions and investments accordingly; and drive down risk at scale.”

Read more.


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