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Hurricane Irma

Coastal Utilities Can Harden the Grid to Reduce Hurricane Impacts

The United States is in its second week of hurricane season. And while electric customers receive numerous preparedness messages to weather storm outages, there are many things that coastal utilities can do to shore up the grid to reduce a hurricane’s impact.

“Unlike residents buying up batteries and generators, utilities must take a year-round approach to upgrade and prepare equipment,” says Kelcy Pegler, FlexGen CEO. “Although it’s a major resilience challenge, hardening the grid is important for extreme weather conditions. But hurricane season is nearly guaranteed to pack a punch for utilities up and down the eastern seaboard and Gulf of Mexico. So planning for risk mitigation is of utmost importance.”

Coastal utilities can harden the grid and reduce a hurricane’s impact by tracking, budgeting and readying resources. Hardening the grid makes it more robust via an updated infrastructure such as underground lines and stronger poles, allowing it to withstand stronger storms. Energy storage systems that can jumpstart generators for power restoration are also becoming an essential part of this equation.  

Utilities in Puerto Rico have been working to harden the territory’s grid since 2017 after the destructive impact of Hurricane Irma. Its aftermath left two-thirds of residents without power. Shortly after, Maria destroyed much of the country’s grid, leaving the entire island without power for an extended period, endangering hospitals, water service and other critical infrastructure.


Inside The Story

connect with Kelcy Pegler

About Lisa Brown

Lisa Brown has decades of experience in corporate communications and marketing management with organizations including Coldwell Banker Residential, Grubb & Ellis, Marcus & Millichap, NAIOP, SIOR and ALM. In those positions, she worked in conjunction with chief executive officers and chief marketing officers to create corporate messaging, cohesive branding standards, strategic marketing plans and thought pieces. Brown is a frequent speaker at industry events and an editing adjunct professor for an online course. She has a master’s degree in mass communications from San Jose State University.

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