The people's voice of reason

Ready to Respond

April 3, 1974. April 27, 2011. Those are two dates that many of us in Alabama will never forget. On each of those days portions of Alabama were devastated by tornadoes. Lives were lost, people were seriously injured, and homes and businesses were destroyed. Compounding those tragedies was the fact that some communities lacked electrical service for several days. Even those who were not directly impacted by those storms must have felt great relief when their electricity was restored. Severe weather season is quickly approaching our state yet again. Although we don’t know whether Alabama will suffer from catastrophic storms this year, each of us can take steps to prepare for such an occurrence. That includes the utilities that serve our state. I am pleased that at least one electric utility in Alabama continues to work, as it has for many years, to ensure that it can respond quickly and efficiently to the most violent storms we will experience. That utility is Alabama Power.

It is imperative that utilities be able to respond quickly and efficiently because electricity is vital to meeting the needs of all Alabamians. Without electricity, medical facilities may not be able to meet the needs of the sick, industries can’t produce, and stores can’t sell supplies people may need to survive. It is not an overstatement to say that lives are saved when electricity is restored. Alabama Power understands that and understands it well; that is why it stands ready to respond. It has placed engineering and line crew resources throughout its service territory. Having them positioned there allows Alabama Power to move these people quickly into areas that have been impacted by severe weather.

As you can imagine, modern technology is a critical element in any plan to respond to storm damage. Advanced meters can now automatically notify Alabama Power of outages. That way, Alabama Power knows about outages even before receiving telephone calls from homeowners and business owners. But older technology still has a role to play in storm damage response. Alabama Power continues to use observations made by people on the ground and in helicopters to assess the scope of storm damage.

Alabama Power has been recognized and rewarded for its outstanding record of being prepared to respond to storm damage. In fact, the Edison Electric Institute has bestowed seventeen storm restoration awards on Alabama Power. This includes seven recovery awards for storms affecting Alabama Power’s grid system and ten assistance awards for Alabama Power’s involvement with other investor-owned utility companies, helping them recover from significant outage events.

I encourage each of you to take the threat of severe weather seriously and to prepare for it as best you can. We should all hope and pray that Alabama will be spared any devastating storms. If, however, severe weather does strike our state, we can be thankful that Alabama Power has proactively prepared for such events and will work hard to restore electrical service as quickly as possible.


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