08. 01. 2019

Challenging RESCCUE through Mutual Assistance approach


How important can Mutual Assistance be to help organizations to face disruptive events?

Mutual Assistance is an essential part of the electric power industry’s service restoration process and contingency planning performed by the Edison Electric Institute (EEI). This entity is an association that represents all the U.S. investor-owned electric companies. Last month, EDP Distribuição shared experiences with the Edison Electric Institute (EEI) on a Trans-Atlantic Mutual Assistance Workshop, where EEI presented a different approach for the utilities based on a mutual assistance scales from regional to national incidents. The action of the EEI lays on 3 important pillars: relation, preparedness and practice and stands on agreements of collaboration and cooperation on a pre-established structure and resources allocation to face national events.

Bridging RESCCUE, in particular, the multisectorial scope, to Mutual Assistance approach between utilities, it is important to highlight the benefits of the coordination and cooperation, either regional or national, based on the anticipation planning carried out by several entities that respond to extreme events caused by climate change.

In this context, one may enhance some practices that have been helping utilities to cooperate between each other in order to have articulated response to disruptive events:

– High engagement of stakeholders: civil protection, regulators, government, clients, media and top managers commitment;

– High maturity in planning and exercising: table tops, functional and live exercises, which contributes to continuous improvement;

– Relevance of crisis communication: clear speech, managing brand reputation, using social media to maintain effective communication during a crisis;

– Incident Command System: advanced procedures regarding the emergency response, based on a cost/benefit analysis;

– Relevance of innovation: investment in specific areas such as climate studies, climate previsions, modelling and simulation of events, damage evaluation by using drones and satellite pictures and the development of innovative solutions;

– Establishing agreements throughout all the supply chain to face a crisis;

– Establishing procedures to main crisis scenarios: floods, fires and extreme events;

– Definition of cooperative protocols: costs and payments are previously established in the mutual assistance agreement to streamline processes.

A common goal could be suggested between the Mutual Assistance program and the RESCCUE project considering the importance of coordination, cooperation and articulation between organizations to reinforce and ensure high levels of preparedness facing disruptive events and effective management through the preparation of resilience plans.