ROCHESTER, NY (WROC) — Sunday’s wind event was the first big response to restore power for RG&E since the company settled with New York State for $10.5 million in December 2019 for poor storm response. This time around RG&E, NYSEG, and the parent company Avangrid say they were ready.
Sunday’s wind impacted around 14,000 people, from losing power for just a few minutes to over 24 hours. Regardless, a majority of customers got the lights back on by Sunday night.
Will Nichols is the energy control manager and said they have improved a significant amount of their infrastructure during calm weather over the past few years. That means stronger poles, better trucks, and a streamlined procedure for working with local government and other organizations ahead of any significant event.
“We ramped up the team going into Friday,” said Nichols, “And started moving resources to be here by Sunday morning to try and coincide with the window of impact as we saw it. Weather doesn’t always agree with us. We try our best to get folks here so that they’re here when it hits.”
Nichols has been working with RG&E since 1991 and says the improvement over the past few years has been the most significant, he has ever seen. That is investments in stronger and newer policies, new ways to prioritize, and better ways to address outages.
They are also working more closely with local government and emergency managers. “We’ve enhanced our emergency procedures such that we’re talking to the local governments and emergency responders ahead of time, more than we ever did. we’re bringing in crews more proactively.”
The team even makes sure any work being done on equipment is put on pause during severe weather. “We take our existing systems that are out for maintenance and when we see weather coming in, we restore it to normal to be in its most reliable state when the weather comes,” said Nichols.