Consumers Energy employees were recently recognized by the Edison Electric Institute (EEI) and the American Gas Association (AGA) for their emergency assistance following Hurricane Sandy last fall.
The EEI awarded Consumers Energy the 2012 Emergency Assistance Award for its efforts to help other electric utilities restore power following Hurricane Sandy. The electric power industry’s Emergency Assistance Award has been presented each year to EEI member electric utility companies since 1998. The award recognizes extraordinary efforts undertaken in restoring electric service to another utility company that has been disrupted by severe weather conditions or other natural events.
“Consumers Energy’s restoration assistance following Hurricane Sandy was truly remarkable,” said EEI President Tom Kuhn. “Getting the lights back on quickly and safely following a major storm is never easy. Working through the industry’s mutual assistance program, Consumers Energy’s crews were essential in helping their fellow utility companies restore service in affected neighborhoods. Importantly, Consumers Energy’s assistance also shows their compassion in helping others in their time of need. I congratulate them.”
Within days of Hurricane Sandy’s devastating impact on the East Coast, Consumers Energy released 137 employees to assist with service restoration. In a first for Consumers Energy, it sent a separate team of employees to assist with damage assessment. These employees provided damage assessment in Maryland, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and New Jersey over a 14-day time period. Consumers Energy also released 126 electric line and 60 forestry contractor employees for this effort.
“Consumers Energy strongly supports mutual assistance and utilities helping each other in times of need. We are sharpening our readiness to respond to natural crises, and will be maximizing our communication activities in our home state of Michigan during periods of intense storm activity,” said Dan Malone, senior vice president of distribution and customer operations for Consumers Energy.
For the first time in its 125-year history, Consumers Energy sent gas work crews out of state to assist with the restoration of natural gas service. The company released approximately 25 employees who worked in several areas near New York City for about two weeks.
The AGA developed coins of recognition to honor those who contributed to Superstorm Sandy restoration and awarded them to individuals at Consumers Energy.
“Sandy’s destruction was unparalleled, and we were pleased we could provide assistance in New York,” Malone said.
Consumers Energy participates in the American Gas Association’s mutual assistance program for unprecedented disasters requiring the dedication of response, recovery and restoration resources outside the limits of existing local, state and regional mutual assistance programs. In preparation for Hurricane Sandy, and in its aftermath, Consumers Energy was one of more than 20 natural gas utilities that participated in daily calls to offer assistance and guidance to utilities and safety officials in the communities where natural gas service had been interrupted.
“It is often said that one’s true character is revealed during a crisis, and that could not be more accurate,” said Dave McCurdy, president and CEO of the American Gas Association. “We are extremely proud of the many who dedicated their time and effort to making sure their fellow utility crews and the customers impacted by Sandy had the help they needed.”