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How Utility Companies can Prepare for Severe Weather

Extreme weather events happen all over the United States.


Without proper preparation, utility companies can experience serious power outages, scrambling to restore the power supply for their customers.


While we can’t control weather conditions, there are ways utility companies can reduce the impact of storms and cut down restoration times.


How can U.S. energy grids be less vulnerable to hurricanes, tornadoes, severe storms, and more?


Keep reading to learn how utility companies can prepare for severe weather events.


Planning for Different Weather Conditions

Preparation for weather events must start far before the event. For a long time, utility companies have focused on redundancy to avoid power outages. The grid designs work well for handling isolated equipment failure or malfunction, but they do not have the same success for extreme weather conditions.


Why?


Because extreme weather often impacts multiple pieces of equipment in one area.


Companies must acknowledge the increase of extreme weather conditions and adapt their plans accordingly. Evaluate the specific weather concerns in your area. For a company in California, wildfires must be a consideration, while one in Florida should plan for hurricanes.


Evaluate the potential weather disasters that could impact your area. Based on this, evaluate the best risk-prevention methods. For example, Pacific Gas and Electric in California are evaluating the possibility of burying power lines to protect from wildfires.


The specific weather events that may strike are only one consideration. You must also assess the severity of them. The scale and likelihood of weather risks change with climate change. Examine the various risks and how they change to design the best plans for your utility company.


Services vs the Grid

Keeping the power grid up and running is important, but maintaining electricity is vital for utility companies.


The primary goal during weather events should be to deliver service, regardless of the grid. In some circumstances, it’s just not possible.


Incorporating non-traditional business solutions can help. It’s not the typical utility business model, but combining renewable energy options like solar panels/generators can help keep power up when the grid is down. It can help serve your customers as you repair the grid following a storm.


Weather Intelligence

The bottom line is that electric utility companies must implement weather intelligence. Staying on top of the incoming weather will help you prepare to the best of your ability.


Instead of allowing extreme weather events to take you by surprise, closely monitor it. This includes real-time weather maps as well as overall weather trends for the week, month, year, etc.


Plan Storm Response Solutions

Regardless of how much prevention and planning you do, extreme weather events happen and can still have a major impact on the power supply.


Making grid reforms and implementing renewable energy are part of the solution, but having a sound storm response plan is another critical component.


The last thing you want to do is scramble for help after a storm. Streamlining your storm response starts far before any unkind weather conditions start.


Staging for a Storm

One aspect of storm response is staging. Staging involves setting up a temporary area where your crew and equipment will stay during the cleanup and repair process.


This often includes lodging, meeting areas, parking lots, and more.


Create your staging plan ahead of time. Consider the following:

  • The location you will use

  • Who will be on the team

  • How the shifts and responsibilities work

  • Movement patterns throughout the area

  • Safety and security

  • Temporary lodging situation

  • Food– cooking, catering, etc.


Storm Mobilization

Storm mobilization includes the process of cleanup and restoring power after extreme weather events. It’s what your team in the staging area will do.


Planning ahead ensures time-efficient and safety storm mobilization. Before disaster strikes, you should already have a plan in place for how to best handle the effects of severe storms.


The plan should outline the basic steps, safety procedures, and a general timeline of how to react to the storm. Be sure that all relevant team members have access to the plan, and review it as a team for preparation.


Work with the Right Post-Storm Support Team

While there’s a lot your team will have to handle, storm response is not only on your shoulders. Unless you have specialty trucks and licensed truck drivers, you won’t be able to handle all aspects of storm response on your own.


Chances are, you’ll need help hauling away debris as well as bringing in new poles to restore the power grids.


There are several areas of storm support you may need to outsource, but one major one is hauling.


Working with an experienced storm-response partner like Blackwood Resources helps you clear out the area, bring in new poles, and ultimately restore power quicker. In the end, this helps your reputation and provides the best customer experience.


Blackwood Resources is Here to Help!

As natural disasters become increasingly common and more severe, preparing for severe weather becomes even more important. For utility companies, storm preparation and response is not optional. People rely on your for their electricity and utilities. Power outages can have severe effects on entire communities.


That’s why preparing ahead of time is important. While you should take steps to fortify your power grid and implement temporary power solutions, a huge part of preparation is designing your storm response.


Limiting damage helps, but it’s not 100% preventable. That’s why having Blackwood Resources in your corner is so helpful.


Our dedicated team provides post-storm support for utility companies. Using our speciality hauling equipment, we remove fallen debris and deliver new poles.


For the last five years, utility companies have turned to our dedicated team for efficient, quality hauling services. Our utility pole hauling includes self-unloading, saving you even more time and money. We have a track record of safety and a commitment to our customers.


Strengthen your utility storm response plan today with Blackwood Resources. We’ll help you get up and running again after extreme weather strikes. Learn more about our storm response solution and how we can help by contacting us now.


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