Mitigating Risks for Hurricane Season


Mitigating Risks for Hurricane Season

Proactive preparation for hurricane season with Neara

In 2021, Hurricane Ida caused close to $80 billion in damage, with 1.2 million customer outages from the Gulf Coast (Mississippi, Alabama, and Louisana) to the Northeast (Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania). The frequency of “one in a hundred year” storms is rising and utilities are on the frontlines of the devastating impacts storms have on critical infrastructure.

During these critical moments, utilities’ top priority must be keeping customers and employees safe, while simultaneously focusing on providing reliable service and reducing costly outages. Proactive preparation for hurricane season will enable more efficient and cost-effective recoveries.

Here are 5 proactive ways to prepare for hurricane season with Neara:

1. Utilize 3D digital twins to test different scenarios

Neara enables utilities to efficiently and easily create cloud-based 3D digital models of their entire network, auto-generated from existing company data. With these models, the Neara Platform is capable of performing complex calculations, such as finite element analysis (FEA). These calculations can be deployed to perform a broad spectrum of design and asset management use cases, accounting for environmental conditions.

Teams are now able to analyze changes or modifications to the network prior to conducting work on the physical asset – providing utilities the opportunity for proactive, engineering-grade hurricane season preparation.

2. Move from condition-based to predictive maintenance

The digital twin can be used to identify weaknesses, test hardening strategies, and gain a more specific and accurate understanding of assets. Neara enables utilities to test possible improvements without having to incur the cost of rolling out a strategy.

Utilities can review their currently held assets and consider updates or alternatives that could harden the assets against hurricanes. Examples include reviewing pole or cable replacement strategies with more durable materials, guying power poles, or a more data-driven vegetation encroachment strategy.

Proactively documenting and sharing records of damages across an organization can also assist in assessing priorities and determining a strategy for predictive maintenance.

3. Review and update existing storm plans

Scenario modeling enables utilities to pre-determine plans for multiple potential outcomes. Reduce the pressures of decision-making during a storm or crisis with predetermined responses to several scenarios.

With proactive plans in place, utilities can focus on other critical plans such as developing chains of command, implementing checklist technology (automatically triggered by forecasted events or weather alerts), and other emergency protocols, such as backup call centers for customers during outages.

4. Determine a management plan for linemen

Establish a cohesive plan for managing the influx of linemen who may need to arrive after, or even during, a crisis. Consider factors such as accommodation, extra tools, team structures, communication strategies, and supplies. Have a unified system to notify utility partners of aid requests when weather emergencies are impending, and establish a detailed plan for accessibility of necessary resources.

Neara is cloud-based, delivering the same design and analysis capabilities on any computer at any location, allowing teams to share information and collaborate seamlessly.

5. Establish consumer communication plans

Utilities must have a variety of channels or systems in place to keep their customers up to date in advance of a hurricane, as well as during the recovery stage. Communicating the process, progress and priorities are key to mitigating customer stress or frustration during outages and recovery.

Proactive recovery strategies mean that customer satisfaction can be kept at higher levels, assets will be tactically repaired, and power outages can be quickly and safely resolved at the most critical moments.


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