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Nation’s Electric Companies Prepare for Hurricane and Wildfire Seasons During Pandemic – Urge Customers to Do the Same

WASHINGTON, D.C. (May 29, 2020) – As the 2020 hurricane and wildfire seasons begin, the Edison Electric Institute (EEI) reminds 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 & 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,” Aaronson added. 

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.

                       



Media Contact
EEI Media Relations
Brian Reil
breil@eei.org
202-508-5514
www.eei.org