By - Jon Brown

6th Utility Storm, Emergency Planning & Preparedness Conference
June 7-8, 2016 | Toronto, ON, Canada

Overview

The rules are changing for utility storm response efforts. Even under the worst of conditions, the expectation is that the lights come back on… fast. Restoring power in the wake of a major storm requires extensive planning and preparation that must be done well in advance of and continuously updated to reflect new complexities.

When a storm does hit, utilities must be accurately informed of the nature and duration of the storm, prepared to quickly and effectively assess the damage to their system and provide their customers, regulators, and politicians accurate and timely estimated times of recovery.   To do so, utilities must be able to communicate effectively, both internally with their restoration crews, and externally to community stakeholders.

Using internal resources to reduce cost and optimizing the use of existing and new technologies is also of primary importance to speed the restoration effort and to prepare for the future.

Featuring expert speakers from leading utilities the program has an extensive focus on forecasting, damage assessment, maximizing the use of existing internal resources, internal and external communications, mutual aid and vendor partnerships.  The Utility as the community leader is also discussed.

This conference will provide utility attendees with the tools needed to effectively prepare and respond to the next major restoration effort.

LEARNING OUTCOMES

  1. Discover the basis of a utility emergency restoration effort and what forecasting components make up the preparation component of a plan
  2. Evaluate AESO’s Province wide exercise on restoration which covers multiple organizations and utilities and can be replicated in other systems in North America
  3. Examine how to interact with public officials to improve and make emergency restorations more efficient
  4. Gain perspective on the planning and preparation efforts from a diverse group of utilities
  5. Explore how utilities and vendor contractors can effectively work together and plan for future restorations
  6. Define a high performance communications system and how it operates internally and externally
  7. Hear about strong utility leadership, how it relates internally and with increasingly complex external stakeholders
  8. Explore a regulator’s perspective on speeding up a restoration effort

Agenda

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

8:00 – 8:30 a.m. ::  Registration & Continental Breakfast

8:30 – 8:45 a.m. :: Opening Remarks & Safety Orientation

8:45 – 9:30 a.m. :: Host Utility & City Welcome

Brian Bentz, President & CEO, PowerStream

Frank Scarpitti, Mayor, City of Markham, Ontario

9:30 – 10:15 a.m. :: Environment Canada, Resources for Utilities

Environment Canada (EC) will introduce its nationwide CanWarn Storm Spotter Network, which is a system of trained volunteers who know how to look at the skies and see a storm brewing.  Because of the experience of EC since 1971 and the training of the spotters, the system provides specific, detailed and timely information and forecasts that are able to be accessed and monitored by utilities for their own preparation check lists at no cost.  The session will provide a description of the ECAlert System which is the mechanism to access the CanWarn information.

Geoff Coulson, Warning Preparedness Meteorologist, Environment Canada

10:15 – 10:45 a.m. :: Networking Break

10:45 – 11:30 a.m. :: “The Grid up from Black”, Alberta Electric System Operator’s (AESO) Exhaustive Training Program, 2-Day Exercises Three Times a Year

Every year the AESO conducts three 2-day training exercises which include participants from utilities around the Province who collaborate to assess the state of the electric system, strategize, and then restore the system in a simulated environment following a blackout.  Enhancements in recent years have added authenticity to the simulations with a corresponding improvement in reactions to the training that includes feedback from operators, engineers and observers from NERC and Peak Reliability.  A discussion on how this program can be replicated by other systems will complete the session.

Philip Mayson, Team Lead, Operations Training, Alberta Electric System Operator (AESO)

11:30 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. :: Municipal Liaison Panel, Working with Municipal Emergency Managers

Utilities improve their power restoration when they work with the municipalities within their service territories.  The Utility Panelists will detail how their utility has structured their relationships in the blue sky days for dealing directly with specific municipal officials on the gray sky days.  The municipal panelists will describe how they believe it is best to work with the utilities during both blue and gray sky days.

Moderator:

Catherine Blair, Manager of Emergency Preparedness, PowerStream

Panelists:

Mike Weatherbee, Manager System Control Centre, Veridian Connections, Inc.

Brie Courtney, Business Continuity & Emergency Preparedness Manager, Hydro One

Sonia Singh, Emergency Planning Coordinator, City of Markham

Cynthia Ross Tustin, Fire Chief, Essa Township

Rob Heffernan, EM Training & Promotions Coordinator, CEMC, County of Simcoe

12:15 – 1:15 p.m. :: Group Luncheon

1:15 – 2:00 p.m. :: Creating and Implementing a Grid Emergency Management Plan, Team and Improvement Process

In the past couple years Toronto Hydro has had a renewed focus on emergency preparedness for major grid disruptions. This includes developing and revising key plans, processes and tools, as well as the introduction of a permanent and dedicated Grid Emergency Management team. This case study format presentation will address lessons learned from the 2013 Ice Storm, recent changes to the company’s emergency management program and long term priorities.

Dan Smart, Manager, Grid Emergency Management, Toronto Hydro

2:00 – 3:00 p.m. :: Planning and Preparedness Panel Discussion

Each utility does their Storm/Disaster Plan a bit differently as each experience different conditions, this session will explore the similarities of their plans along with how they differ.  Discussions will focus on preparations that are made as a restoration is expected.

Moderator

Sam Spilman, Director, Operational Effectiveness, Duke Energy

Panelists:

Catherine Blair, Manager of Emergency Preparedness, PowerStream

Ben Peco, Manager, Security & Emergency Management, BC Hydro

Dan Smart, Manager, Grid Emergency Management, Toronto Hydro

Mike Weatherbee, Manager System Control Centre, Veridian Connections, Inc.

3:00 – 3:30 p.m. :: Networking Break

3:45 – 4:45 p.m. :: Panel Discussion, Mutual Aid and Contractor’s Working with Utilities

A discussion on mutual aid relationships and contracts including; setting them up, detailing when they should be activated, and how the contractors add to the required assistance depending upon the severity of the storm/disaster.

Moderator:

Jim Nowak, Director of Utility Services, Arcos, (retired Manager, Emergency Preparedness, American Electric Power)

Panelists:

Catherine Blair, Manager of Emergency Preparedness, PowerStream

Rick Putman, Superintendent, West Central Zone, Hydro One

Dan Dumas, Chief of Operations, E Holland Contracting

Brandon Wetzel, Manager, Sales & Estimating, K-Line Maintenance & Construction, Ltd

4:45 – 5:00 p.m. :: Review of the Day, Preview the Next Day

5:00 – 6:00 p.m. :: Networking Reception sponsored by Arcos

DAY 2 AGENDA

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

8:00 – 8:30 a.m. :: Continental Breakfast

8:30 – 9:15 a.m. :: Crisis Communications: Forming, Storming, Norming and Performing

Incorporating a detailed Crisis Communications Plan as part of a storm and disaster plan is essential for utilities who want to ensure they communicate effectively to all their stakeholders in the midst of a weather-related crisis situation. PowerStream will share their experiences of first working without a comprehensive plan, to getting a Crisis Communications Plan in place and then integrating it with the utility’s Emergency Preparedness Plan.

Eric Fagen, Vice President, Communications, PowerStream

Daloris Grohman, Digital & Customer Communications Specialist, PowerStream

9:15 – 10:00 a.m. :: Utility Case Study; 2013 Ice Storm, Southern Ontario & Resulting Improved Response Capabilities

This presentation will start with an overview of the challenges Hydro One faced with this specific restoration along with the sustained damage, customers restored, duration, and timing of the event.  It is a unique case study due to the challenges of dealing with a restoration during the Christmas holiday.  Information will be specific to both external and internal situations during the restoration and our pre-mobilization efforts.

Additional topics will include:

  • Describing Hydro One’s Mock Storm training sessions using the OMS as a simulator modeling our past events
  • The use of new technology for damage assessment during a live event resulting in fully  electronic communications being utilized in the field
  • Benefits that our Forestry Department contributes towards our restoration efforts
  • Contributions from our Grid Center, Field Business Centers, Construction & Apprentice crews, along with our Mutual Aid partners towards best practice in prioritization and speeding up restoration.

Greg Towns, Director of Provincial Lines, Hydro One

10:00 – 10:30 a.m. :: Networking Break

10:30 – 11:15 a.m. :: Leading During a Crisis in Today’s Changing Utility Environment

Expectations of utility sector leaders during a crisis have become more complex in recent years, and will continue to evolve quickly as we move forward.  Leaders today have to balance the need to deal with the crisis itself with pressures from outside influences such as regulators and government, all while having to satisfy a public that has an expectation of having accurate real-time information.  They are literally “leading out in the open”, and it’s a challenge that is not only demanding, but unforgiving.  The talk will provide unique perspectives on how leaders can adapt to today’s challenges, and what the future may hold for leaders trying to successfully take their organizations through a crisis.

Ben Peco, Manager, Security & Emergency Management, BC Hydro

11:15 – 12:00 p.m. :: Ontario Ice Storm of 2013, Finding Creative Ways to Keep the Power On

The Electric Safety Association (ESA) will elaborate on the working arrangements made for damaged services during the 2013 Ice Storm.  This was a case where we as a regulator had a choice to make in extreme weather where we could disconnect damaged services and have people freeze to death in their homes, or find creative ways to leave the power on at low risk.  There were a number of steps to our approach:

  • Educate customers about who repairs the service, what they own and what their responsibilities were
  • Outline the most effective processes for restoration efforts
  • Describe the processes ESA used to work more effectively with utilities in these situations

Steve Smith, General Manager, Electrical Safety Association

12:00 p.m. :: Conference Concludes

PRE CONFERENCE WORKSHOP

STORM PLANNING 101

Monday, June 6, 2016

Overview

Those tasked with an emergency response at a utility have an immense responsibility.   Thorough planning in advance of a storm effort is key to a successful response effort at any size utility. Attendees to this comprehensive workshop will leave with all the tools needed to create, modify and execute a top performing restoration plan and be ready for the next storm/disaster to hit and imperil the customers.

Learning Outcomes

  • Identify the key components of a successful emergency response and restoration plan
  • Determine pro-active strategies for before, during and after a storm
  • Recognize the role of a comprehensive damage assessment
  • Analyze the implementation
  • Evaluate strategies for communicating with customers before, during and after the restoration
  • Discover lessons learned from past storm/disaster restorations

Agenda

8:00 – 8:30 a.m. :: Registration & Continental Breakfast

8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. :: Course Timing

12:00 – 1:00 p.m. :: Group Luncheon

Why Plan for a Storm: You Cannot Prevent One…
  • Storm restoration will never be perfect, but to do your best, you must prepare
  • Storm restoration can make or break a utility and its executives
Planning on a Clear Day
  • What is your worst case scenario?
  • Who are you partners?
  • Line/Vegetation/Engineering
  • Food/Lodging, crew care
  • Storm drill – What does it look like?
  • Review the Incident Command System (ICS)
Planning as the Storm Approaches
  • Weather services
  • Determining crew needs
  • What to do’s
  • 120 hour checklist
  • 96 hour checklist
  • 72 hour checklist
  • 48 hour checklist
  • 24 hour checklist
During the Storm
  • Determine staffing for coverage
  • Determine rules of work
  • Staff with key people
  • Sample ideas
Damage Assessment
  • Why
    • Predictive
    • Statistical
    • Pole by pole
Using OMS
  • OMS plays a role, a key role
Communication with Customers
  • Partner with the emergency operations center (EOCs)
  • Provide “estimated times of restoration”
  • Methods

After the Storm

Instructor

Sam Spilman, Director, Operational Effectiveness, Duke Energy

Sam Spilman has 29 years of utility experience ranging from generation to distribution.  In addition to his current position, he has served in such positions as engineering supervisor, operations manager, manager of power quality and reliability, director of distribution engineering and operations and general manager of regional operations.   Sam has been keenly involved with numerous restorations efforts in the Carolinas and Florida including ice storms, tornadoes, hurricane from both the field and support standpoint, including serving as the system storm coordinator.

Location

Hilton Toronto/Markham Suites Conference Center & Spa
8500 Warden Ave
Markham, ON L6G 1A5

To reserve your room, please call 1-905-470-8500
Please indicate that you are with the EUCI group to receive the group rate.

ROOM RATE:

The room rate is $CAD 139.00 single or double plus applicable taxes.

Speakers

Ben Peco, Manager, Security & Emergency Management, BC Hydro

Brandon Wetzel, Manager, Sales & Estimating, K-Line Maintenance & Construction, Ltd

Brian Bentz, President & CEO, PowerStream

Brie Courtney, Business Continuity & Emergency Preparedness Manager, Hydro One

Catherine Blair, Manager of Emergency Preparedness, PowerStream

Cynthia Ross Tustin, Fire Chief, Essa Township

Daloris Grohman, Digital & Customer Communications Specialist, PowerStream

Dan Dumas, Chief of Operations, E Holland Contracting

Dan Smart, Manager, Grid Emergency Management, Toronto Hydro

Eric Fagen, Vice President, Communications, PowerStream

Frank Scarpitti, Mayor, City of Markham, Ontario

Geoff Coulson, Warning Preparedness Meteorologist, Environment Canada

Greg Towns, Director of Provincial Lines, Hydro One

Jim Nowak, Director of Utility Services, Arcos, (retired Manager, Emergency Preparedness, American Electric Power)

Mike Weatherbee, Manager System Control Centre, Veridian Connections, Inc.

Philip Mayson, Team Lead, Operations Training, Alberta Electric System Operator (AESO)

Rick Putman, Superintendent, West Central Zone, Hydro One

Rob Heffernan, EM Training & Promotions Coordinator, CEMC, County of Simcoe

Sam Spilman, Director, Operational Effectiveness, Duke Energy

Sonia Singh, Emergency Planning Coordinator, City of Markham

Steve Smith, General Manager, Electrical Safety Association

Register

Event Standard RateAttendees
Proceedings package $ CAD 695.00

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