In April 1996, my region starting getting slammed with wet, heavy snow and ice. Over the next 90 minutes, we experienced what was up until that point the worst storm in the company’s history. We were caught totally off-guard, with major transmission and distribution damage throughout. In the end my company was crucified by the press, and customer satisfaction hit an all-time low.
After the event, I met with various municipal officials and first responders, and learned a valuable lesson. I realized that Operations cannot do it all; we needed to properly train staff from other areas of the company to support the mission so that my area could focus on operational issues only. Simply put, having a plan in a big fancy binder on the shelf looks impressive, but it does not replace the need for a solid training program.