Five electric utilities (Southern Co., Louisville Gas and Electric Co., Kentucky Utilities Co., PP&L and the Tennessee Valley Authority) just announced the formation of the Regional Equipment Sharing for Transmission Outage Restoration (RESTORE) program.
Similar in principle to a mutual assistance agreement, the initiative represents an agreement amongst the participating electric utilities to share critical equipment during major outage situations. The agreement encourages each utility to take inventory of any unused transmission equipment, and communicate this inventory to the other participating utilities so they can purchase critical items quickly in the event of a major emergency event.
This is another example of the industry-wide movement toward collaboration and partnerships. Initiatives like RESTORE are on the upswing due to a variety of converging trends, such as climate change, increasing regulatory pressure to reduce restoration times, a reduced propensity for consumers to accept long service interruptions, and the deepening integration of various energy and communication sectors.
I like the trend, and I hope to see even more industry collaboration across electric utilities in the future. Simply put, for better or worse we’re all in this together, so it makes sense to join forces during times of need in the hope that the whole will be greater than the sum of the parts.