American Transmission Co. and ITC Midwest have joined a growing program focused on equipment sharing among utilities during disasters, according to a Tuesday release by the companies.
Wisconsin-based ATC and Iowa-based ITC Midwest committed to participate in RESTORE—an acronym for Regional Equipment Sharing for Transmission Outage Restoration—and joining 26 other utilities in the program. RESTORE was started last year by Louisville Gas & Electric, Kentucky Utilities, PPL Electric Utilities, Tennessee Valley Authority and Southern Co.
"Launching the RESTORE program, coupled with existing industry programs and each utility's internal resources, further strengthens total grid resiliency for the region and electricity customers," said Mark Davis, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer for ATC.
Earlier this year, the U.S. Department of Energy released a strategic transformer reserve report which urged for a national network. DOE recommended that “most efficient and effective approach is one which builds on industry-based approaches and their ongoing efforts to achieve greater transformer resilience in the face of the evolving threats."
The RESTORE program now stretches across much of the eastern United States. Participants include Ameren Missouri and Illinois, Associated Electric Cooperative Inc., six Duke Energy utilities, Florida Power & Light, South Carolina Electric & Gas and Duquesne Light Co. among others.
"Establishing these types of relationships and being able to call on more than 20 neighboring utilities at a moment's notice will mean a more efficient response and expedited recovery when experiencing these types of emergencies,” Jon Jipping, Chief Operating Officer for ITC Holdings Corp., said in a statement.
The collaboration helps identify and share spare transformers and other transmission equipment, which will then be available for purchase by other participants in the event of a major disaster within their service area.