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KEC


Electric co-ops strive to be more resilient By Austin Partida


In the summer of 2012, a crews to nearest outage. AVL is Derecho swept from the Great Plains to the Atlantic seaboard, bringing hurricane-force winds and knocking out power to more than four million people. Disas-


ters, whether caused by nature, Your cooperative will continue accidents or hostile acts, exact an enormous cost both in eco- nomic and human terms.


At Kay Electric Cooperative our goal is to become more re- silient because we know you de- pend on us to keep the lights on. We take steps to lessen poten- tial damage. We also take steps to ensure we recover quickly. Our resiliency efforts are multi- faceted, involving every aspect of our operations – from the customer service representative in the call center to the linemen in the field, from the engineers in the control room to the com- municators keeping the media and members updated.


exploring, evaluating and de- ploying new technologies help speed up the process of power restoration. We have an automated outage system that can predict a line outage after a few outages are reported. This practice expedites are response and allows are crews to isolate the troubled area. Safety is first and foremost at KEC. All of our vehicles can be located through Auto Vehicle Locator (AVL). This allows our operations cen- ter to dispatch the appropriate


to 2 percent of the


a great resource when restor- ing power to an area. The op- erations department can make sure all crews are clear of the area when repowering a line.


to explore and implement new technology’s to better serve our membership in the future.


Electric co-ops serve the most rugged, remote terrain in the country, covering more than 70 nation’s land-


mass. We have learned how to restore power in incredibly dif- ficult circumstances, and now, we’re restoring power even fast- er. Collectively, electric co-ops have reduced the average time without power their members experience from 142 minutes in 2011 to 105 minutes in 2013, a 26 percent decline. 140002


Now, more and more we are hearing about another type of


For example, at KEC we are disaster: a cyber attack. To bet- ter understand this threat, elec- tric co-ops joined utilities from across the country in a cyber and physical disaster exercise coordinated by the North Ameri- can Electric Reliability Corpora- tion.


Cooperatives support federal legislation that would help im- prove our response to a cyber attack by improving coordina- tion and information sharing among utilities and government agencies.


But as we all know, getting the


power back on is really just the beginning of recovery, especial- ly following large-scale disas- ters such as floods, tornados and hurricanes. Next comes rebuilding, and with rebuilding – many more challenges. Unfortunately,


tight budgets


and a struggling economy have made securing reimbursement of costs from the Federal Emer- gency Management Administra- tion (FEMA) more difficult than ever.


Under new FEMA procedures,


if rebuilding costs are less than estimated, left over funds must be used for FEMA-approved projects to harden the grid in or- der to mitigate future damage. On the other hand, if an elec- tric co-op underestimates costs, the co-op will be responsible for paying the difference. From new efforts to reduce risk during disasters to rigorous ac- counting of costs to make sure we can rebuild, KEC is striving to improve our resiliency. We don’t know what to expect


from Mother Nature during the rest of 2015, but I can promise you this: KEC is working hard to prepare for whatever blows our way.


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