Storm Preparedness and Response Review - Lessons Learned and Recommendations

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Reviewing the aftermath of the historic Buffalo Blizzard in December 2022, this presentation evaluates National Grid's response and provides recommendations for improved storm preparedness. The extensive review highlights the challenges faced, commendable adaptation, and areas for enhancement to better manage future winter storms and ensure public safety.


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  1. Storm Review and Winter Preparedness 12 October 2023

  2. 2 DPS OREP Review: National Grid December 2022 Storm Preparation and Response

  3. 3 Historic Buffalo Blizzard: By the Numbers Damaged Infrastructure Logistics and Support National Grid Field Force was their largest in western New York history and were assisted by logistics experts who ensured crews had adequate resources and accommodations. 108,000 homes and businesses affected 3,200 workers in the field 148 broken poles 14 states and provinces sending utility and contractor crews* 137 damaged transformers 400 workers behind the scenes supporting logistics, supply chain, planning, engineering, customer service, communications and administrative matters 1,260 sub-transmission circuits replaced 80,000 meals served - more than 10,000 meals per day * Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Ontario, and Quebec

  4. 4 After Action Review and Staff Conclusions Given the unprecedented complications caused by the historic blizzard conditions of the December 23rd, 2022, Winter Storm, Staff concluded that National Grid adapted efficiently to provide effective restoration activities where possible given the circumstances. Following an extensive review, Staff found: National Grid had appropriate resources in place prior to the storm and after the impact was known. National Grid did well to adapt to the challenges presented as part of this storm to facilitate access to its facilities and restore customers. National Grid communicated effectively during the event to keep customers and government officials informed.

  5. 5 Recommendations While National Grid performed well overall, some areas for improvement were identified, as well as lessons learned and best practices, which are applicable to memorialize in future operations for all the NYS Utilities. 1. Utility Pre-Event Preparation Enhancement Considerations should include advanced communications and coordination with local county and state officials regarding transportation access, resource needs, and specialty equipment needs. 2. Partner Engagement and Coordination Partnerships with other agencies, including transportation and law enforcement that may be able to aid with issues such as access and mobility to areas for repair and restoration, assist with LSE wellness checks, and participate in multi-agency task forces, such as the NYS Snow Removal Task Force, which proved instrumental in aiding National Grid with restoration efforts, should be maintained and memorialized in Utility ERPs. 3. Enhanced Public Safety Messaging As part of external messaging, all NYS Utilities should include additional messaging during heavy snowstorms on the proper use of alternative heating sources, the dangers of carbon monoxide, and avoidance of dangerous alternative lighting and proper maintenance of existing heating sources (e.g., ensuring snow is cleared from exhaust vents).

  6. 6 NYS PREPAREDNESS AND RESPONSE EFFORTS Blizzard of 2022 After-Action Review: Four Focus Areas

  7. 7 Summary The following slides summarize DPS Staff s storm response across four areas: (1) Communications; (2) Technology; (3) Capacity; and (4) Coordination. Slides include existing protocols in action, as well as changes/enhancements made since the Blizzard of 2022. Notable changes/enhancements include: Enhanced NY Alert use amongst DPS Staff (Communications) After-Event Lessons learned communicated with all utilities, including those not impacted by Blizzard (Communications) Developing new Utility Event Dashboard (go live in 2024) (Technology) Developed internal Mobilization and EOC Support rotation schedule for DPS Staff (Capacity) Developing Energy Sector Municipal Officials Guide (Capacity) Partnering with DHSES to integrate more focused Energy Sector risk and vulnerability assessments into DHSES CEPA process (Capacity)

  8. 8 Summary - Continued Notable changes/enhancements (Coordination) include: DPS Staff coordinated information sharing amongst National Grid and ESF #1 Transportation agencies to establish and facilitate the Road Clearing Taskforce Engaged with Joint Utilities on lessons learned and best practices from the Blizzard of 2022 for implementation into the Utility Emergency Response Plans (ERPs) Participated in NYS Thruway/DOT/Investor-Owned Utility (IOU)/DPS Transportation Collaborative on June 7, 2023 to memorialize process for identification and prioritization of road clearing and transportation activities during a response For their 2023 exercises, National Grid simulated the Blizzard conditions and accessibility issues encountered during the December 2022 Winter Storm in the City of Buffalo All utilities included local government emergency agencies in their 2023 winter/coastal storm exercises

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