National Grid Responds


One of the things that we do quite
regularly is we hold storm calls where we bring all levels
of the company on a call we start to talk about possible events. Rushing water sound. In our pre-planning process, we have regular meetings with the state, We have regular meetings
with various towns. And so that we both have a process
to make sure that we can communicate. Towns themselves are given
special numbers so they can dial directly into dispatch
for the smaller events. What we do in these events is we open
something we called the MUNI room where we have a small group of
people who get regular updates, and hold regular phone calls
into the town and the state to make sure that they’re
getting the best information and we know what their concerns are. We maintain a presence in all
of the state emergency rooms, so that we are physically in REMA
or at that level throughout the entire event so that if anything does occur
they have quick access to the company, quick access to any kind of
information they might want. We saw the forecast
you know we started thinking seriously about how this
was going to impact us. It was a big event. We had additional
staffing to handle the calls. We took about aproximately
19,000 calls. We used many different levels
of communication to the customers. We were using outbound calling
letting them know what we were facing. The guys will go out to the pole
and either pull the cutouts or if it’s an individual home they’ll lift the
taps going to the house to deenergize it. It’s usually the home owners requesting
it or the fire department or the poice department’s
requesting that those services get denergized to those homes. It’s all for the safety of the customer. We are in the incident command program. We instituted that early in this process. So that everybody who is
out there all of us knew what how we were going to handle it. That’s the key to the success I think. We estimate the size of event and how we are going to
handle the different situations. We do something called a
hazard assesment as part of many of the things that
we do when we begin our work. Making sure that everyone
understood the added safe guards, safety safe guards
that we needed to look for. Reviewing a host of different things
related to be how to be safe, what our expectaions are,
what they can do to protect their personal safety. We’re walking down streets with
4 1/2 feet of water. We’re worried about manhole
covers being off, there’s all kind of debris. There was a lot of environmental
health risk we were having we’d discussed. In addition to that we had
boating issues we’re a utility but we found ourselves having
to work out of boats. To get to Pawtuxet sub
we went out in a boat. The water level was coming up
so fast there was no way we were going to be able to
keep the station going. Running water sound. When your standing in 4 feet of water, you know its ok when you’re in a trout
stream on opening day on fishing season but its a little different
switching high voltage equipment. Just to try and keep your balance to do what you need to do
inside a sub station, or trying to remember
where everything was because it wasn’t like it was
crystal clear that stuff was murkey and muddy and there
was a lot of debris floating around. You don’t want to be in there
any longer than you have to. You want to get your job done
and get out of there. We take buckets of responsibility, you give them to an individual, you clearly state the expectations, and you let them take that responsibility and go off and become successful. The flooding that happened
in a Warwick substation was different than the flooding
issues that happened in Westerly. Where we had lost not only the
substation we lost the opperating center, we had equipment floating around, we had poles floating around. So we assigned a
person that responsibility and we found that especially
with this unique kind of event, it worked extremly well. We were working 18 hour days. The response from the
customers was very positive. You know everyone was very very
appreciative of what we were doing. I think they see us responding
to some of the emergencies and getting a better feel for what
we are actually up against. I know a lot of individuals we were
walking through the water they were saying you guys are crazy
to be going in there you know. Its part of your job. When you look back and
you see how much work we actually accomplished in
a short amout of time. That’s an awful lot of stuff to
get done in a couple of days. A big, big sense of accomplishment, yup. I’m extremely proud of the people
at National Grid. I’m extremely proud of the people
that were out in the field, that agreed to go out there
in working conditions that most of us wouldn’t want to be out in.

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