Uniondale, NY - May 21st, 2014 - PSEG Long Island conducted its annual emergency preparedness drill yesterday at Nassau County's Office of Emergency Management headquarters in Bethpage. While the utility had extensive, real-world experience dealing with storms immediately following its launch, this exercise allowed for PSEG Long Island to test its major storm preparedness, including new operating communications procedures implemented as a result of lessons learned from previous storms.
“As the new electric service provider on Long Island and in the Rockaways, we are committed to enhancing our emergency response during large-scale storm events,” said John O’Connell, vice president of transmission and distribution for PSEG Long Island. “Specifically, as a result of the lessons learned from Superstorm Sandy, we have focused our efforts on enhancing the emergency response plans in critical areas associated with electric service restoration and related communication.”
The new operational improvements tested included:
- Enacting the draft flood restoration protocol, which added new procedures and coordination with towns and villages for customers impacted by flooding.
- Prioritizing the clearing of critical roadways by working with towns, villages and the respective county Emergency Operation Centers (EOCs).
- Enhancing logistics processes that improve efficiency of external restoration resources.
The new communication improvements tested included:
- Increasing the use of press releases and social media to convey pertinent information to customers and other key stakeholder groups.
- Regionalizing the Municipal Storm Calls to enable the dissemination of more localized and geographic specific information to elected officials and municipal leaders.
- Utilizing previously captured customer e-mail addresses for direct communication with customers during storm events.
- Adding 25 liaisons in the field to improve communications and restoration efforts with towns and villages.
O’Connell continued, “Our customers deserve to have safe, reliable, consistent power every day, even during significant storm events. This drill provided us with the opportunity to review the new procedures that will ensure that we achieve that promise and commitment. Our team brings hundreds of years of experience effectively managing catastrophic storms to Long Island and we’ve implemented real change to the way we respond to storms.”
The Long Island Power Authority and the New York State Department of Public Service; public officials from New York State, New York City and Nassau and Suffolk counties; local emergency management agencies; various utility companies, including National Grid, New York Power Authority, Verizon and Cablevision; and the National Weather Service attended and observed the mock event.