Emergency Preparedness

Conditions on the Central Coast challenge Central Lincoln to construct and maintain a system constantly faced with the threats of salt air, high winds, and heavy rain, and also flooding, landslides, snow, and ice. We also continue to plan and prepare for other risks—terrorism and cybersecurity, Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquakes, tsunamis, and wildfires.

What happens during an outage and getting your power restored is the focus of Central Lincoln’s ongoing concentration on building and maintaining a system that considers all potential hazards. The foundation of our system is its employees all working together to provide electrical service we know is fundamental for communities, businesses, and families, and how best to restore power when emergencies occur.

Automation allows our employees to view our system in ways that help identify the specific locations and potentially the causes of outages. Central Lincoln gathers information from your phone calls to our outage line, and digital meters, routers and collectors provide fast and precise outage detection. Our SCADA (system control and data acquisition) system monitors substations, and the DA (distribution automation) system can connect or disconnect parts of the system to allow crews to safely move in and work. Automation can also allow Central Lincoln to reroute electric power around the problem and feed your meter from a different source, restoring your power sooner.

A Vulnerability and Risk Assessment of Central Lincoln’s substations, transmission, communication, distribution, and IT has been completed. Department of Geologic and Mineral Industries (DOGAMI) maps and data were reviewed for vulnerabilities to facilities located near tsunami inundation zones. This has resulted in a multi-year plan to replace and upgrade parts of our system based on financial and personnel resources available. We have made several improvements over recent years to substations, transmission lines, communications, technology, and facilities.

Being storm ready is a continual learning experience, and every emergency event provides useful information. Relocating facilities from tsunami zones, providing seismic retrofits, building to seismic standards, stockpiling of needed materials, communication improvements, and continued advancements in technology are all being accomplished in incremental steps. Properly responding to a catastrophic event will depend on communication with local agencies, and potentially activating our mutual aid agreements with other electrical providers to help us out. Today’s knowledge, training and improvements will pay off in power recovery time, restoring power vital to each and every community we serve.

Written by Central Lincoln Board Member, Jim Chambers, for the August 2019 issue of Boardlines