Washington (November 2, 2020) –Today, the CEO-led Electricity Subsector Coordinating Council (ESCC)—which serves as the principal liaison between the federal government and the electric power industry on efforts to prepare for, and respond to, national-level disasters or threats to critical infrastructure—issued the following statement:
“Over the past week, extreme weather events have impacted electricity customers in many states across the country. First, an historic ice storm hit parts of the Texas Panhandle and Oklahoma, leaving approximately 457,000 customers without power at the storm’s peak last Wednesday. Separately, Hurricane Zeta’s destructive winds ripped across parts of Louisiana, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, the Carolinas, and Virginia, leaving nearly 3.1 million customers without power at the peak last Thursday.
“Investor-owned electric companies, public power utilities, and electric cooperatives in the path of these storms prepositioned crews, resources, and equipment to respond to power outages quickly, as soon as it was safe to do so. More than 23,000 workers from at least 29 states and Canada are working around the clock to restore power to every customer who is able to receive it.This workforce is focused on rebuilding damaged infrastructure, including poles, wires, substations, and major lines, and includes company personnel, contractors, and mutual assistance workers.
“As of 12:00 p.m. EST, nearly 95percent of customers have been restored following Hurricane Zeta and more thantwo-thirds (or 67 percent)of customers have been restored in Texas and Oklahoma.
“Power restoration follows a detailed process. In addition to the normal restoration prioritization process,impacted entities are working with their state and local election officials to understand their needs and to support the timely recovery of designated voting locations and other election infrastructure in advance of Election Day.
“Strong industry-government coordination and cross-sector collaboration are essential. Over the past week, the ESCC has convened calls with impacted investor-owned electric companies, public power utilities, electric cooperatives, and senior officials from the Departments of Energy and Homeland Security to receive an update on the ongoing storm and wildfire response; to discuss any outstanding equipment and workforce needs; and to encourage coordination in support of federal, state and local officials ahead of Tuesday’s election.
“The ESCC understands our industry’s role in supporting the communities we are privileged to serve. We are focused on restoring power to customers impacted by last week’s storms, are monitoring weather forecasts for additional threats, and are preparing for Election Day just as we do for other major events.”