To help restore electric service to communities after catastrophic emergencies or significant natural events, 28 energy companies – including Ameren Corp. – have now committed to participate in the RESTORE program, which establishes a proactive approach to providing critical equipment for utilities that need additional resources during disaster recovery.
The program establishes a binding agreement among participating utilities.
Currently, purchasing a transmission transformer from a manufacturer could take up to 18 months, a process far too long when disasters such as tornadoes or hurricanes strike. Under the RESTORE program, energy companies such as Ameren Illinois, Ameren Missouri and Ameren Transmission Company of Illinois are able to acquire critical infrastructure equipment directly from partnering utilities in a much shorter time frame than purchasing new from the manufacturer to help restore energy to customers more quickly.
The national importance of a strategic transformer reserve has been highlighted by the Department of Energy’s Strategic Transformer Reserve Report to Congress earlier this year. Newly formed at the time of that DOE Report, the RESTORE program is now a fully functional collaborative effort that takes advantage of regional cooperation and is consistent with DOE’s recommendation supporting voluntary industry-based options to address the reserve.
“Establishing agreements such as RESTORE and being able to call on neighboring energy companies at a moment’s notice means a more efficient response that allows us to quickly restore the quality of life for electric customers during times of natural disasters,” said Ameren Transmission Company chairman and president Shawn Schukar.
RESTORE was founded in 2016 by Louisville Gas and Electric Company and Kentucky Utilities Company, PPL Electric Utilities, Tennessee Valley Authorityand Southern Company to identify and share spare transformers and other transmission equipment, which will then be available for purchase by other participants in the event of a major disaster within their service area.
The program has now expanded to include 20 additional participating utilities: Ameren Missouri, Ameren Illinois, Ameren Transmission Company of Illinois, American Transmission Company LLC, Associated Electric Cooperative, Inc., six Duke Energy utilities, Duquesne Light Company, East Kentucky Power Cooperative, Entergy Corporation, Florida Power and Light Company, ITC Midwest, ITC Transmission, METC, South Carolina Public Service Authority Santee Cooper, and South Carolina Electric & Gas Company.
RESTORE is designed to enhance the resilience and reliability of the energy grid and provide additional resources for utilities seeking critical equipment during disaster recovery and does not replace existing programs or agreements already in place. The RESTORE agreement is now in place among all participating utilities, except a few that must first obtain state approval to execute the agreement.
— The Illinois Business Journal