CEO’s Message — June 2019

Posted: June 19, 2019

Preparing For a Rainy Day

CEO Michael S. McWaters
Michael S. McWaters
Executive V.P./CEO

The realities of hurricane season are nothing new to most SVEC members. Many of us know exactly what to do when the forecast shows a major storm headed our way. But that familiarity can also lead to complacency and a tendency to leave preparations to the last minute.

We all know smart planning is the key to staying safe during hurricane season. So consider this your personal reminder to start preparing now, rather than waiting until the clouds have gathered.

Here at SVEC, we work throughout the year to make sure our system is ready for these moments. In recent years we have made extensive improvements that enable us to prevent outages and quickly resolve the ones that do occur.

Just in the last year, the cooperative has trimmed trees along hundreds of miles of line to ensure that when powerful winds hit, fewer power lines will be damaged by falling limbs. We have also relocated some of our power lines from heavily forested areas and replaced over 700 older poles that are most at risk of failing.

SVEC also continues to install automated switches throughout our system. These switches allow us to isolate outages when they happen and to restore power to some members within minutes. There are currently about 60 of these switches on our system, and about 20 more are scheduled to be installed by the end of the year.

Technology like our Advanced Distribution Management System even makes it possible to respond to some larger outages without dispatching a crew to restore power by hand, giving them time to work on other parts of the system.

When a crew is needed, our Advanced Meter Infrastructure helps pinpoint the cause of the outage so the crew knows exactly where to go. An automated vehicle location system lets dispatchers coordinate crews across the system, while the cooperative’s on-site fuel station means SVEC crews can respond to outage reports even when local gas stations are without power or out of fuel.

Those improvements have made our system even more resilient in the face of storms, but they can never entirely prevent outages. That’s why we also regularly review and update our Emergency Response Plan and reach out to our cooperative neighbors if there’s a chance we might need extra help.

But as important as it is for SVEC to plan how to protect our system, it’s also important for all of our members to make their own preparations to keep their families and homes safe. Our hope is that our Hurricane Preparedness Guide can serve as a helpful starting point and a reference for other useful resources as you make your own plans.