Utilities sign up with Grid Assurance for grid equipment supplies

Grid Assurance on May 16 said that six major utilities with 31 transmission-owning affiliates are in the initial group of subscribers to its transmission grid resilience solution, pending any needed regulatory approval. 

American Electric Power, Berkshire Hathaway Energy’s MidAmerican Energy Company and NV Energy, Eversource, FirstEnergy, Kansas City Power & Light and National Grid, and their affiliated transmission-owning companies, have transmission facilities in 26 of the 48 lower continental United States.

Grid Assurance said it will maintain an inventory of critical long-lead-time spare transformers, circuit breakers and related transmission equipment; provide secure domestic warehousing of the inventory in strategic locations; and offer preplanned transportation and logistics support for delivery. 

“Our customers and our economy are increasingly dependent on electricity for everything from high-tech manufacturing to transportation, so a resilient transmission system is more important than ever,” said Rudy Wynter, National Grid President and COO of Transmission, Generation and Energy Supply. “Grid Assurance will be critical to helping us – and our customers – recover more quickly in the event of a major disruption to our grid.”  

Grid Assurance said that access to critical transmission equipment is most cost effective when the costs are pooled among subscribers, than when transmission-owning companies look to purchase spare equipment on their own. “Grid Assurance offers subscribers a cost-share model that optimizes cost and inventory to the collective transmission grid resilience needs of multiple utilities across the country,” it said in a news release.

Grid Assurance said it was developed in response to concerns about the ability to respond quickly and effectively to threats to the U.S. bulk power grid.

Grid Assurance said it will continue to add capacity of critical transmission equipment as more subscribers sign up for service. 

Each subscribing company will know the condition, location, dimensions and weights, manufacturer, performance characteristics and accessory details of the new assets which allow preplanned transportation and logistics plans to be developed, it said.

Orders for equipment will be placed later this year with deliveries expected to begin by mid-2019.

Association held webinar

The American Public Power Association in 2017 had representatives from three of the major spare equipment options for utilities participate in a webinar that provided an overview of their services, followed by a Q&A session.  

The three presentations were related to Grid Assurance, the Spare Transformer Equipment Program (STEP) and SpareConnect. 

This webinar is free and can be watched at the following link:

FERC accepted application on transfer of transmission facilities

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in April issued an order approving an application relating to the transfer of jurisdictional transmission facilities under the Regional Equipment Sharing for Transmission Outage Restoration (RESTORE) Agreement. 

The RESTORE Agreement provides for bilateral transfer of electric transformers and other critical transmission-related equipment between agreement participants in emergency situations.