(June 01, 2021) — Following the historic 2020 hurricane season, the Edison Electric Institute (EEI) and our member companies—America’s investor-owned electric companies—remind customers that now is the time to prepare for hurricanes, tropical storms, and other emergencies that could cause power outages this year. Proactively taking simple steps to get ready now can be greatly beneficial if, and when, an emergency occurs.
“Last year’s storm season brought an unprecedented number of named storms, which impacted customers and communities across the nation,” said Scott Aaronson, EEI’s vice president for Security & Preparedness. “Based on current forecasts, electric companies again are expecting and preparing for above-average storm season.”
A hallmark of the electric power industry is mutual assistance. In advance of major storms and following natural disasters that strike without notice, electric companies work together to identify potential resource needs and to line up additional personnel, equipment, and supplies that may be needed to support power restoration. This careful preparation allows for a safe entry and a rapid, organized response in the affected areas.
“Following natural disasters, crews from across the United States and Canada assemble to assist impacted communities, and their safety is paramount to EEI and to our member companies,” Aaronson added. “More than a year ago, the Electricity Subsector Coordinating Council developed extensive COVID-19 protocols for our workforce, and we continue to update and follow these guidelines today. While we understand that customers may want to ask questions or thank crews during emergency power restorations, it is critical that they keep a safe distance from lineworkers and other mission-essential employees during all response efforts.”
Customers and communities share a responsibility to prepare for emergencies, and we encourage them to start today by creating an emergency plan and preparing an emergency outage kit that is readily available should a major disaster strike.
Here are steps you can take to prepare now:
- Visit www.ready.gov to learn how to plan, be prepared, and act in your community.
- Review EEI's hurricane safety tips. For more hurricane safety and preparation tips, visit the National Hurricane Survival Initiative.
- 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.
- Have your emergency outage kit stocked and readily available.
- Know all evacuation routes. If you or anyone you know has special needs that may complicate an evacuation, contact your local emergency management office for guidance. Find the phone number at www.FEMA.gov.
- Pay attention to local weather reports on the radio, television, and online.
- Stock up on non-perishable food, water, medications, and any other necessities to avoid the need for travel during a storm. If you live in an area where evacuations may be necessary, be sure to research any changes to local policies that may have been made due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Learn what to do in case of a power outage.
- Make sure your contact information is current with your local electric company so you can 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.