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Now Is the Best Time to Prepare for Hurricane Season

WASHINGTON (May 30, 2019)  As the 2019 hurricane season gets underway, the Edison Electric Institute (EEI) reminds customers to prepare now for storms and other emergency situations that could cause power outages. Taking simple steps now to get ready for emergencies in your home, business, and community can pay great dividends if, and when, an emergency occurs.

“In 2018, we experienced an active season with multiple major hurricanes in the Pacific and Atlantic basins,” said Scott Aaronson, EEI’s vice president for security and preparedness. “As an industry, every storm presents an opportunity to apply lessons learned and improve upon our response. We can’t stress enough that advance preparation is incredibly important. While EEI’s member companies are gearing up for what is predicted to be another active storm season, we encourage our customers to do the same.”

Mutual assistance is a hallmark of the electric power industry. In advance of major storms, electric companies work together to identify resource needs and line up additional personnel, equipment, and supplies that may be necessary. This careful preparation allows for a rapid, organized response once the storm-affected area is deemed safe to enter.

“In just a matter of days in 2018, more than 35,000 workers from at least 27 states and Canada were mobilized to assist customers affected by Hurricane Michael in the Florida Panhandle. Never have so many workers been mobilized so quickly, and power was restored to about 95 percent of the approximately 2.7 million affected customers within a week after the Category-5 storm hit,” said Aaronson. 

“During major events, electric companies devote all their employees to the restoration effort to get customers back online as quickly and safely as possible. While lineworkers are the most visible, the restoration workforce includes professionals from across the companies directly impacted by storms, as well as contractors and workers provided through mutual assistance.”

In addition to Michael, many of the same responders assisted with recovery efforts after Hurricane Florence hit North Carolina, and EEI member companies in the West were ready to respond when Hurricanes Lane and Olivia threatened the Hawaiian Islands. 

Preparation extends far beyond mutual response with EEI member companies investing more than $100 billion each year to make the energy grid stronger, smarter, cleaner, more dynamic, and more secure. 

The best offense during any major storm or emergency is a good defense. Customers are reminded that regardless of where they live, the best time to prepare for a major weather event or natural disaster is well before it happens. 

What customers can do now to prepare for hurricane season:
  • Read EEI’s hurricane-safety tips.
  • 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.
  • Visit www.ready.gov to learn how to plan, be prepared, and act in your community. 
  • 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 told to evacuate, do so immediately.
  • Learn what to do in case of a power outage​.
  • Make sure your contact information is current with your local electric company to 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.
If a severe storm hits your area:
  • ​Stay in a secure room and away from windows. Remain indoors.
  • Monitor weather bulletins on a battery-powered radio.
  • Turn off power to flood-prone basement appliances if it is safe to do so. However, if using an electrically operated sump pump, you should not turn off the power.
  • If using a personal generator, follow all recommended precautions. Never use a generator inside your home, garage, crawl space, other enclosed areas, or anywhere exhaust fumes can enter. Fatal, odorless fumes can build up quickly, and opening doors and windows or using fans will not prevent carbon monoxide buildup in the home.
  • Stay away from downed power lines and always treat fallen wires and anything touching them as though they are energized. Immediately report downed lines to your electric company.
  • If your power goes out, report your outage immediately to your local electric company. Don’t rely on your neighbors to report your outage.
Severe Weather and Reliability

In addition to customer safety, the electric power industry’s top priority is to provide a reliable supply of energy. Learn more about how the industry responds to outages caused by severe weather:

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