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Gulf Coast utilities brace for monster Hurricane

Gregg Edeson, utility reliability and resiliency lead at PA Consulting, discusses utility storm preparedness as Hurricane Laura approaches the U.S. Gulf Coast.

Read the full POWER Magazine article here

Utilities along the U.S. Gulf Coast are preparing their response to Hurricane Laura as the massive storm bears down on the Texas and Louisiana coastlines.

Laura as of late Wednesday was classified as a Category 4 storm, already bringing heavy rain to coastal areas ahead of the center of the storm. Residents were urged to evacuate coastal regions, areas that are expected to be inundated by a massive storm surge of nine feet or higher. Forecasters said water from that storm surge could move as much as 30 miles inland.

Gregg said that Gulf Coast utilities “know the drill and how to prepare” for major storms. “They will ensure that mutual aid resources are planned for, asset damage predictions are developed based on the projected path of hurricane, and materials and resources are staged accordingly.”

He adds: “Utilities are constantly learning and evolving based on previous events/storm surges/water intrusion issues. It is probably the case that mid-Atlantic utilities have shared lessons learned from recent experiences regarding logistics, PPE needs, crew isolation processes, testing of crews, etc.,” referencing the recent storm-related power issues related to Hurricane Isaias.

Gregg continued: Utilities are faced with the challenge of power restoration efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic. “New items in our current environment to consider certainly include COVID safety precautions and processes to follow with internal and external resources being involved. And as such these new safety precautions will end up taking time away from restoration as it was in the past.”

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