They say it takes a village, and the new Restore Program is a great example of this. Recently joined by Duke Energy, the Restore Program is a consortium of 28 electric utilities that have come together to help each other during times of extreme need.
Overview of the Restore Program
Restore stands for “Regional Equipment Sharing for Transmission Outage Restoration” and it was founded in 2016 by 5 electric utilities including Southern Co. and TVA. The stated objective is to speed recovery times by providing immediate or quick access to necessary items. Just over a year later, the consortium is 28 strong and growing. Each participating utility is bound via a formal agreement to ensure continuing compliance. Click here for the full list of participating utilities.
The idea is to share heavy duty transmission equipment during disaster scenarios, as these pieces of equipment are difficult to obtain in a pinch. A recent report from the Department of Energy highlighted this difficulty and recommended the creation of additional regional consortiums like this one, as well as the formation of a strategic transformer reserve.
Importantly, the Restore Program does not replace existing mutual assistance agreements, or similar industry partnerships. Rather, the program is incremental and as such should really help from a resiliency perspective.
I definitely applaud this collaboration. With increasingly violent weather thanks to global warming, utilities need all the help they can get. And in this case, the whole is definitely greater than the sum of the parts. I hope more and more partnerships like the Restore Program emerge over time, because if they do, we will all benefit!