FirstEnergy’s commitment to making our customers’ lives brighter starts with programs and initiatives that improve service reliability and extends to continually re-evaluating our emergency response plans.
Safe, reliable power is a top priority. We continue making multibillion-dollar investments in our electric distribution and transmission systems by upgrading aging infrastructure, increasing network automation, enhancing security and adding operating flexibility. These modernization and improvement projects enhance the reliability of our customers’ electric service with a stronger, more efficient and resilient power grid.
One of the ways we hold ourselves accountable for ensuring service reliability is by including metrics—Distribution System Average Interruption Duration Index (SAIDI) and Transmission Outage Frequency (TOF)—in our KPIs. SAIDI represents the average total duration of outage minutes in a year for each customer served, adjusted for major storms. Our KPI goals for SAIDI are in line with annual standards established by the state utility commissions and are set to challenge our operating companies to improve performance. TOF measures the transmission line frequency of outages, excluding those that are scheduled, forced by emergency or operational. The KPI goals for TOF are based on peer comparison. For the past three years, we have performed better than the threshold targets for these metrics.
System Average Interruption Duration Index (SAIDI)1
System Average Interruption Frequency Index (SAIFI)2
Customer Average Interruption Duration Index (CAIDI)3
In 2019, FirstEnergy was recognized by EEI with the Emergency Response Award for the outstanding efforts of our crews and support personnel who work around the clock in difficult circumstances to restore power. After a several-day wind storm in late February, with winds reaching 70 miles per hour across our six-state service area, our crews restored service to more than 1 million customers.
When power outages occur, the key to successful service restoration is effective emergency planning. Following a storm or other emergency, our high standard for emergency preparedness enables us to respond quickly and safely. The Edison Electric Institute (EEI) has recognized FirstEnergy more than two dozen times over the years with its Emergency Recovery Award and Emergency Response Award for utilities that demonstrate exceptional response to significant events within their service territory and aid other utilities in times of need.
Our Emergency Operations Center brings together a team of employees from across FirstEnergy who serve as the central resource for support and coordination of our service restoration process, particularly during weather emergencies. Our process incorporates key principles and concepts found in the National Incident Management System to ensure a standardized, consistent and scalable approach to all incidents regardless of size, scope or complexity. To maintain a state of operational preparedness, we annually conduct exercises that test key systems, processes and training. Additionally, we conduct After Action Reviews following all major storm events and emergencies to continuously improve our readiness.
FirstEnergy’s storm preparedness process includes:
Readiness Plans: When severe weather is forecast, we activate formal readiness plans to ensure our customer contact centers can handle a larger volume of calls and our service crews are prepared to safely clear damage and restore service.
Mutual Assistance Relationships: While employees of our 10 operating companies are more than capable of handling most outages, we have mutual assistance relationships with neighboring electric utilities to help us safely and quickly restore power, as the need arises.
Emergency Operations Center: System operators at our regional distribution and transmission operations centers monitor weather forecasts around the clock from our company meteorologists and the National Weather Service. They watch for early signs of storms and coordinate resources and support as needed.
Power Restoration: After the storm passes and it is safe to assess damage, we aggressively identify, assess and mitigate hazards in the interest of safety for our customers and employees. Our dedicated employees and external crews work in shifts around the clock until power is safely restored.
Emergency Communication Plan: We ensure appropriate staffing for media coverage during outage events, hold daily conference calls with local officials and emergency management personnel regarding our restoration progress, and use our social media accounts to share safety reminders, images and updates.
Estimated Time of Restoration (ETR): We quickly provide an ETR so customers know when their power is expected to be restored. We believe our ETR processes are among the best in the industry.