Utilities, customers can prepare for severe weather seasons
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WTVQ/Press Release) – September is National Preparedness Month. During the 30 days of observation, families and communities are reminded and encouraged to plan ahead so they can be ready when disasters or emergencies strike.
Exactly how to prepare means different things for different people, businesses, industries and agencies. If we’ve learned anything in 2020, it’s how quickly things can change and the importance of taking necessary precautions for yourself, your family and your business.
For Kentucky’s largest utilities, Louisville Gas and Electric Company and Kentucky Utilities Company, preparedness includes continuous maintenance and periodic enhancements to the energy infrastructure that enables the utilities to provide safe, reliable service to customers whenever it’s needed and staying ready to immediately respond to emergencies.
Investing in Energy Superhighways — LG&E and KU are performing numerous projects to enhance the high-voltage transmission system including upgrading transmission lines, replacing aging wooden poles with steel and conducting tree clearance around system equipment.
Investing in Faster Restoration — the utilities are installing automated restoration equipment along power lines to restore service faster than ever before and centralizing grid operations. Already, the utilities’ automated equipment has prevented more than 150,000 service interruptions and saved nearly 29 million minutes when customers would have been without power. Ongoing efforts across LG&E and KU’s electric system have reduced how often and how long power outages last by about 20% since 2011.
Investing in Safe, Reliable Natural Gas Service — LG&E employs comprehensive natural gas safety measures that include around the clock monitoring of the system by a central gas control room; conducting leak surveys; operating a Pipeline Integrity Management Program that identifies and minimizes potential pipeline risks; and educating community partners and the general public about natural gas safety. The utility is replacing aging gas lines and enhancing the system to accommodate growth and expansion.
In addition to these efforts, LG&E and KU maintain relationships, including four different mutual assistance partnerships, that provide access to invaluable resources and hundreds of crews from more than 20 states when mobilizing for potential large-scale restoration efforts.
LG&E and KU customers are always the utilities’ top priority. The utilities take many factors into consideration, including the weather heading toward Kentucky, when allocating resources to other utilities in need and ensure ample resources are on hand for anything from routine maintenance to emergency situations.
How customers can plan ahead
LG&E and KU encourage customers to take time during the month to work through simple tips that can help ensure they’re as prepared as possible when disaster strikes.
Make a plan —Whether at home or work, develop an emergency plan involving each person at your location so you’ll know how and where to meet, how you will contact each other and what to do in different situations.
Stock up and make a kit — Gather enough essentials for at least 72 hours, including necessary medicines, water, a crank-powered flashlight, first aid items, a battery-operated radio and extra batteries. Store stock-piled emergency supplies in one location, preferably in air-tight storage. You may have to evacuate at a moment’s notice and take essentials with you. Make an emergency preparedness kit and make sure each member of the household or work location knows where it will be stored. Be sure to make a kit for your vehicle as well.
Keep informed — When power outages occur, LG&E and KU provide near real-time outage information through the utilities’ online outage map to help customers make critical decisions. The map is mobile friendly for customers on the go, and provides critical information including estimated restoration times, weather radar overlay and zooming capabilities to street level.
LG&E and KU customers can also sign up for outage texting to report an outage to 4LGEKU (454358) and to request status updates from their mobile device. After customers text OUTAGE and the location of the outage being reported has been confirmed, customers can text STATUS at any time to receive updates regarding when their service might be restored. Once power is back on, the customer will receive a text confirming service has been restored.
LG&E and KU offer an extensive online library of information about electric and natural gas safety, the restoration process and general tips about what to do during an outage. Visit lge-ku.com/storm to access these resources.
Sponsored by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), National Preparedness Month is an annual campaign raising awareness about the need to be ready when a disaster occurs.