We saw an example of one way all electric providers have to be ready for “just in case” events. We mean those events that cannot be predicted, just where they may happen, or when, maybe even if they will happen.
Still, every power provider has to be prepared “just in case.”
A couple states away, in Arkansas, the utility was ready when an incident happened. A suspected lightning strike completely destroyed an electric substation. A substation reduces the high voltage of electrical power transmission; it steps-down the power to be suitable for consumers. A substation is on a small plot of land. You see wires and metal frameworks.
So, a substation that took months to build – probably years to plan, approve and build – had to get back on line ASAP. The permanent fix is longer term.
North Arkansas Electric Cooperative had a temporary substation in place in 12 hours to get power back on. Good job! The co-op also did a wonderful job on updating customers, check the story on its website.
All this is to say that all electric providers do these potential problem analyses and have plans in place. Being prepared is part of what power providers do.
Some utilities are sharing in a new way to plan for emergencies. From UtilityDive magazine in 2017 —
The RESTORE program – for Regional Equipment Sharing for Transmission Outage Restoration – was founded in 2016 by Louisville Gas and Electric and Kentucky Utilities, PPL Electric Utilities, Tennessee Valley Authority and Southern Company.
The program seeks to address the threats outlined earlier this year in the Department of Energy’s Strategic Transformer Reserve Report to Congress that highlighted how damage to or attacks on transformers could severely disrupt the nation’s electrical grid. The program comes as utilities in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico grapple with widespread and devastating infrastructure damage in the wake of three massive hurricanes.
The participants of the program agree to identify and share spare transformers and other transmission equipment. In the event of a major disaster, that equipment would be available to participants for purchase.