State of Washington Puget Sound Energy partner for more efficient and effective storm response
CAMP MURRAY, Wash.-- (Dec 19, 2007) -- In the wake of the one-year anniversary of the “Hanukkah Eve Windstorm of 2006” and the devastating floods that hit Southwestern Washington last week, the state of Washington and Puget Sound Energy have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) regarding cooperation and coordination of emergency operations and preparedness.
“We are pleased to partner with Puget Sound Energy to direct resources in a manner that will allow a more effective and efficient response to emergencies and natural disasters,” Gov. Chris Gregoire said. “This MOU is an important step in implementing the recommendations of the state’s After Action Report for the December 2006 Windstorm.”
The MOU provides for HOV lane exemptions for PSE crews, expedited state border crossings for foreign utility crews hired by PSE, and access by PSE personnel to state resources such as helicopters for damage assessment in the event of an emergency that affects electrical and natural gas infrastructure.
“This agreement will help to restore power more quickly in the event of a major storm or disaster,” said Stephen P. Reynolds, chairman, president and chief executive officer at PSE. “While we cannot control storms and other natural disasters, we can control how we respond to these events.
” Last year’s historic Dec. 14-15 windstorm highlighted the challenges of moving the utility crews responsible for restoring power to the locations of the damage.
“During last year’s storms we had crews sitting in traffic for hours, just waiting to get to the downed power lines; and the longer it takes our crews to get to the point of damage, the longer it takes to get the power back on,” Reynolds said.
“Efficiencies are at a premium during emergencies,” said Maj. Gen. Timothy J. Lowenberg, lead emergency manager for the state and director of the Washington Military Department, which includes the Emergency Management Division (EMD). “Having utility crews sit in traffic would not allow PSE to restore power in a timely manner. These crews are good at what they do, and it is our responsibility to put them in a position to do their jobs.”
The agencies partnering in the agreement with PSE are the Emergency Management Division, Washington State Patrol, Washington State Department of Transportation and the Department of Community Trade and Economic Development.
About Puget Sound Energy
Washington state’s oldest and largest energy utility, with a 6,000-square-mile service area stretching across 11 counties, PSE serves more than 1 million electric customers and nearly 725,000 natural gas customers, primarily in Western Washington. PSE meets the energy needs of its growing customer base through incremental, cost-effective energy efficiency, procurement of sustainable energy resources, and far-sighted investment in the energy-delivery infrastructure. PSE employees are dedicated to providing great customer service to deliver energy that is safe, reliable, reasonably priced, and environmentally responsible.
State of Washington
The Washington Emergency Management Division is dedicated to protecting the lives and property of the people of the state, as well as preserving the environmental and the economic health of Washington. The Washington State Patrol makes a difference every day, enhancing the safety and security of Washington state by providing the best in public safety services. The Washington State Department of Transportation’s mission is to keep people and business moving by operating and improving the state’s transportation systems vital to taxpayers and communities. The Department of Community, Trade and Economic Development invests in Washington's communities, businesses and families to build a healthy and prosperous future.