Powering Strong Communities
Disaster Response and Mutual Aid

Public Power Utility Officials, APPA Staff Address Wide Range of Mutual Aid Topics at Meeting

Public power utility officials who are members of the American Public Power Association’s Mutual Aid Committee and APPA staff on March 14-15 gathered at APPA’s headquarters in Virginia to discuss and take action in a number of areas including updates to the APPA Mutual Aid Playbook.

“Providing reliable electrical service is a 24/7 responsibility which all public power providers take very seriously and preparing for worst case scenarios and how to respond is a key role for the Mutual Aid Committee,” said Neil James, MAC Chair and Director Distribution Engineering and Operations at South Carolina’s Santee Cooper.

“During the recent MAC meeting, significant focus was placed upon ensuring vital communications and information required between mutual aid utilities is provided to ensure a safe and efficient restoration.  While we always hope there are no events, having a plan and being knowledgeable of how mutual aid works better prepares public power utilities to respond quickly when needed,” James said.

On March 14, opening remarks were made by Scott Corwin, President and CEO of APPA, Adrienne Lotto, Senior Vice President for Grid Security, Technical & Operations Services at APPA, and James.

Day one of the meeting addressed MAC governance and administrative topics, including the selection of Frederick Rumery of Lincoln Electric Systems to serve as a member of the Executive Committee.  The group also reviewed and updated the Mutual Aid Playbook and provided feedback on a new Crew Coordination Checklist, for those members who are receiving mutual aid.

There was also a discussion related to initial planning for an October MAC exercise and the identification of objectives for the exercise.

On March 15, the MAC reviewed and approved MAC outreach materials. In addition, there was a Mutual Aid State Coordinator Roundtable.

Along with James, officials from APPA member utilities who attended the meeting were:

  • Jimmy Bagley, City of Rock Hill, S.C.
  • Lawrence Aguayo, CPS Energy
  • Chris Manganelli, DEMEC
  • Bruce Kitchens, DEMEC
  • Edward Westerfield III, Easton Utilities Commission
  • Nicholas Whitley, ElectriCities of North Carolina, Inc.
  • Elizabeth A Bendele, Florida Municipal Electric Association, Inc.
  • Amy Zubaly, Florida Municipal Electric Association, Inc.
  • David A Hefner, Grand River Dam Authority
  • Barry Tupper, Holden Municipal Light Dept.
  • Whitney Bommarito, Huntsville Utilities
  • Jaymi R Fitzpatrick, Huntsville Utilities
  • Jason Miller, Lafayette Utilities System
  • Fredrick Rumery, Lincoln Electric System
  • Nick Lawler, Littleton Electric Light & Water Departments
  • Randall Reed, Louisiana Energy and Power Authority
  • Mike Willetts, Minnesota Municipal Utilities Association
  • Mark Mustain, Missouri Public Utility Alliance
  • J.T. Flick, New York Power Authority
  • Elijah Schiessler, Omaha Public Power District
  • Brian Thomasson, Paducah Power System
  • Chris Burton, Princeton Electric Plant Board
  • Caleb Hall, Tennessee Valley Public Power Association, Inc.
  • Taylor Kilroy, Texas Public Power Association
  • Todd Simmons, Tillamook People's Utility District
  • Cheryl Adams, Municipal Electric Systems of Oklahoma
  • Gregory Labbe, Lafayette Utilities System

MAC Established in 2022

The MAC was established in 2022 at APPA’s National Conference in Nashville, Tenn.

Previously, national-level public power mutual aid efforts had been conducted under the auspices of the Mutual Aid Working Group (MAWG), which coordinated and facilitated the mutual aid program for APPA for well over a decade.    

The creation of the MAC sought to signal the importance of the APPA mutual aid program as a key element of the Associaiton. The MAC remains focused on networking, supporting emergency response, facilitating mutual aid, and sharing ideas and resources.  

October 2023 Meeting

Members of the MAC and APPA officials in October 2023 met to discuss a wide range of topics related to coordination of mutual aid activities among public power utilities in the wake of major power outages. The meeting took place on Oct. 24-25 in Boston, Mass. The meeting focused on discussion of MAC Goals and Objectives for 2024.

 Additional information on the mutual aid program is available on APPA’s website.