Discussing the Impact of the Various Catastrophic Tornadoes on the Transmission & Distribution Systems

- By:

Courtesy of Marcus Evans

Utility preparations for outage response and restoration are an ongoing, consistent problem. Through the year, storms cause disruption to the delivery of power and ultimately cost the utility industry money through lost revenue and system repair. Much of this preparation is focused on weather damage that may occur from hurricanes, thunderstorms, ice storms and various other natural events.

Pam Boyd is currently Storm Director for Alabama Power, Vice-Chair of the AEIC – EPAC Committee, member of the SEE Mutual Assistance Committee, and a member of the Electrical Engineering Industrial Advisory Board at Auburn University. Pam was named Power Delivery Planning Manager – Alabama Power Company in March 2010. The departments under her direction are Distribution Planning, Network Planning, 44kV Planning, Joint Use, Reliability and Capital Budgeting.

Ms. Boyd answered a series of questions written by marcus evans before the upcoming 11th Annual Outage Response & Restoration Management Conference, November 8-10 in Atlanta, GA. All responses represent the view of the Ms. Boyd and not necessarily those of Alabama Power. (Note that the responses have been approved by Alabama Power.)

What does Alabama Power do to plan in advance for bad weather events?

PB: Unfortunately in my 20 year career at Alabama Power I’ve seen bad weather events in every month of the year. Consequently we must always be prepared.   Alabama Power has an extensive emergency operation plan that is reviewed periodically.  We also hold storm drills both internally and with other utilities in our mutual assistance group.  Some storms allow time for preparation such as hurricanes while others, such as tornadoes, do not.  You must have roles defined and plans in place that are adaptable and that can be implemented very quickly.         

Discuss the biggest impacts that tornadoes had on the Alabama Power Company system.

PB: Alabama Power has withstood many storms, including Hurricanes Ivan and Katrina.  However the April 27th event produced more devastation than either of those storms.  We installed over 6000 distribution poles, 400 transmission structures and over 4 million feet of wire.

From an operational perspective, how were you able to replace so many infrastructures in just seven days?

PB: At the height of restoration, we had more than 10,000 personnel working on our system from 20 states.  This expanded work force enabled us to quickly address the damaged facilities over the vast area affected.  It is a very large undertaking to be certain that all outside line personnel are working in the most efficient manner possible.  These personnel were spread out in our service territory and were staged at 12 crew and material sites, allowing them to work safely in the most devastated areas.

 For further details on the upcoming conference, please contact:
Michele Westergaard
Marketing/PR Coordinator
marcus evans
Telephone: 312 540 3000 ext 6625
Email: michelew@marcusevansch.com

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