Like many utilities in the southeast, Georgia Power relies on staging areas and had its hands full with Hurricane Matthew, and much of this effort was chronicled in an article run in the Savannah Morning News. The article specifically focused on Georgia Power’s staging area and workforce scheduling logistics, and I really like the company’s approach so I think it makes for a terrific case study.
The company has pre-designated locations along the Georgia coast that are used as staging areas, many of which are hotels, in order to provide decent sleeping arrangements for exhausted workers. In the absence of hotels, the company either brings in sleeper trailers (for staging areas slated to be used for employees), or designates particular staging areas to be solely utilized for refueling and restocking purposes. Overall, the company’s staging areas are positioned in a way that optimizes their usefulness as a home base of operations for employees and mutual aid crews.
In terms of worker schedules, like most utilities Georgia Power gets most of the restoration work done during daytime hours in order to maximize productivity; however some employees do work around the clock for highly critical tasks. In all, the company had about 5,000 employees involved in the Hurricane Matthew restoration effort, including mutual assistance crews from nearby utilities such as Alabama Power, Mississippi Power, and Gulf Power, among others.
There’s no doubt, logistics and staging areas are crucial elements of a successful restoration, and the related policies and procedures should be documented in emergency response plans. In fact, there’s no time like the present to audit these sections of your own company’s plan. For some best practices around how to do this, click here.