WASHINGTON, March 21, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- The Edison Electric Institute today honored FirstEnergy with the association's "Emergency Recovery Award" for the company's response in restoring power to its customers following Hurricane Irene in August 2011.
The Emergency Recovery Award is presented each year to U.S. and foreign-based member companies to distinguish an outstanding response in restoring electrical service that has been disrupted by severe weather conditions or natural events. Winners were chosen by a panel of judges following an international nomination process, and the awards were presented during EEI's Spring CEO meeting.
"FirstEnergy was clearly well prepared for Hurricane Irene, which was one of the most destructive storms in recent history," EEI President Tom Kuhn said. "The exceptional execution of its Emergency Storm Restoration Plan, along with the dedication and perseverance the company's line workers displayed, helped launch an effort that was successful in restoring power to more than a million customers in a timely manner."
"I am proud to accept this award on behalf of the thousands of talented FirstEnergy employees who worked tirelessly in very trying conditions to restore our customers in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Maryland that were affected by Hurricane Irene," said Anthony J. Alexander, president and chief executive officer of FirstEnergy.
In late August, FirstEnergy's service territory was hit with a massive hurricane that left approximately 1.1 million FirstEnergy customers in JCP&L, Met-Ed, Potomac Edison and Penelec service territories without power. Workers contended with thousands of downed trees, washed-out roads, and flooded substations during the course of the restoration process.
As the storm traveled up the East Coast, company meteorologists monitored weather patterns and provided twice-daily updates to company personnel. Several days in advance of the storm, FirstEnergy mobilized a "utility of wheels," complete with vehicles, supplies, equipment and fuel to assist with the restoration process. To assist where needed, FirstEnergy dispatched personnel from its utilities in states not affected by the storm – including line crews, hazard responders, damage assessors, dispatchers, mechanics and public protectors. The company also secured additional line crews from other utilities as a result of its mutual assistance agreements.
Additionally, FirstEnergy implemented its comprehensive Emergency Storm Restoration Plan ("E-Plan") which was crucial to being able to manage this multi-state restoration effort.
Throughout the event, FirstEnergy's Call Center also was instrumental in communicating estimated restoration times with customers. During Hurricane Irene and the subsequent restoration efforts, FirstEnergy call centers answered nearly 900,000 customer calls. In addition, FirstEnergy's communications efforts focused on public safety and sharing information on the company's progress in restoring service.
In the past, FirstEnergy has been honored with other EEI awards, including the "Emergency Assistance Award" for helping to restore electric service to neighboring utilities following severe weather conditions or other natural events. The company won this award six years in a row from 2006 to 2011.
The Edison Electric Institute (EEI) is the association of U.S. shareholder-owned electric companies. Our members serve 95 percent of the ultimate customers in the shareholder-owned segment of the industry, and represent approximately 70 percent of the U.S. electric power industry. We also have more than 65 International electric companies as Affiliate members, and more than 170 industry suppliers and related organizations as Associate members.
SOURCE Edison Electric Institute