Update from the National Rural Electric Cooperative Associations (NRECA)
Our thoughts and prayers are with those in the Southeast who are in Irma’s path.
Given the potentially catastrophic nature of the category 5 storm, electric cooperatives are bracing for extended outages for system restoration. Co-ops have been leveraging social and traditional media to educate members and provide them with essential information such as phone numbers and preparation tips.
At this time, storm forecasts project that Irma will track east along the Florida coast. Storm surge is expected from the Florida Keys to Jupiter Inlet along the Atlantic coast.
Electric co-ops are coordinating to ensure effective mutual aid is available once the storm has passed.
- The cooperative mutual assistance program is prepared to support Florida members if there is a need. Co-ops from 20 states, including Michigan, Oklahoma and Wisconsin, are holding daily calls in preparation for the storm, and they are continually reviewing three possible storm tracks.
- Some co-ops who will assist in restoration are traveling to locations in the storm’s path now and others will assemble just outside the storm’s expected track to be ready to assist in those efforts. Because the exact storm track is unknown, some co-ops along the East Coast will not be able to dedicate crews to mutual aid until they have certainty on Irma’s path.
NRECA has been coordinating with the potentially impacted statewides and cooperatives, industry partners and federal government agencies. This coordination is a continuation of the unified approach that industry and government coordinated during Hurricane Harvey. It includes regular situational updates and co-op preparation and response via social media and electric.coop. We will continue supporting our members as they work to restore power and support their communities in other ways.
NRECA is coordinating information and messaging through the Electric Subsector Coordinating Council (ESCC), an industry-government partnership that was established for events such as this. The Department of Energy has activated its Energy Response Organization and on Wednesday began coordination calls with NRECA and other industry associations. DOE and the ESCC also began coordination calls for industry and government communicators to ensure unity of messaging regarding Irma.