NEWS RELEASE ISSUED BY THE EDISON ELECTRIC INSTITUTE
Westar Energy Earns EEI’s “Emergency Assistance Award” Following Tornadoes and Ice Storms
Washington, D.C. , March 5, 2014 —The Edison Electric Institute (EEI) today awarded Westar Energy with the association’s “Emergency Assistance Award” for its extraordinary work assisting in power restoration efforts after a widespread severe weather outbreak inMichigan and an ice storm in Texas, both in fall 2013.
The award is presented annually to EEI member companies to recognize an outstanding response in assisting a neighboring or nearby utility company in power restoration efforts after service has been disrupted by severe weather conditions or other natural events. The winners were chosen by a panel of judges following an international nomination process, and the awards were presented during EEI’s Spring CEO and Board of Directors meeting in Washington, D.C.
On November 17, severe straight-line winds, hail, and multiple tornadoes tore through Michigan, causing extensive destruction and leaving hundreds of thousands without power. Westar Energy sent 46 personnel and 29 trucks to multiple areas in Michigan to assist DTE Energy with its restoration efforts. Crews traveled more than 12,840 miles over seven days of restoration work. They replaced poles and cross arms, installed primary and secondary conductors, and completed their assignments safely while working in hazardous conditions.
In early December, one of the worst ice storms in recent years hit the South and Midwest. Originally, Westar crews were deployed to assist Oklahoma Gas & Electric (OG&E) but it was determined that OG&E did not need Westar’s assistance as the storm’s predicted impact in its service territory was reduced.Westar crews were rerouted to assist Oncor in North Texas. Fifty-nine personnel and 39 trucks traveled long distances on roads covered in ice and snow. In total, Westar’s workforce—a mix of both Westar Energy utility company employees and contract restoration workers—provided more than 5,820 hours of assistance following the winter storm’s wrath.
“Westar Energy’s willingness to assist in restoration efforts demonstrates the strength of the industry’s mutual assistance network and its commitment to serving customers, regardless of service territory,” said EEI President Tom Kuhn. “We commend the crews who braved dangerous conditions as they diligently worked to safely and quickly restore service.”
Bruce Akin, Vice President, Power Delivery for Westar Energy said: “When our neighbors need help, Westar Energy is happy to answer that call. The pooling of resources benefits all customers by making us all more reliable while keeping costs down. Times of need really test who we are as allies and individuals and this recognition is an honor. An honor dedicated to our employees who are ready to leave their homes to help our friends in need.”