DIS-TRAN Steel Blog

DIS-TRAN SUPPORTS UTILITY STORM RESPONSE

Posted by Melissa Hines on Jul 27, 2016 2:19:02 PM

When a major storm hits, the first priority is to get the power back on. After Hurricane Sandy blasted the Northeast, millions of people faced flooded homes and widespread power failures. In 2011, the median amount of damage caused by an Atlantic hurricane was $1.8 billion. When it comes to mediating storm damage, time is money.

During hurricane season, response time is vital for utilities faced with the worst Mother Nature has to offer. No one wants to be without power any longer than necessary, and in the case of emergency response services, it can be a matter of life and death.

In recent years, utility companies have become experts at responding to major storms and hurricanes by marshaling resources to quickly restore service. A successful storm response is the result of coordinated efforts with local governments to develop storm readiness plans. In the rush to mitigate storm damage and significantly reduce the length of power outages, the parts supplier is an important partner in the process that is often overlooked.

DIS-TRAN Overhead Solutions knows how crucial it is for utilities to be able to recover quickly after a storm. After all, the public safety infrastructure is built on the premise that power and communications will always be there. That’s why DIS-TRAN maintains a sizable raw materials inventory of wood and composite crossarms at our Vancouver, WA and Pineville, LA locations. DIS-TRAN can treat and ship materials to order within 24 hours, with onsite wood treating and manufacturing capabilities. Vertical integration allows the company to have total control over its manufacturing and treating processes, which ensures quick turn around and on-time delivery.

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After more than a half century in the business, there's no storm that can faze us. Our employees know the part they play in the storm recovery process and are more than willing to put in the necessary time to ensure blazing fast delivery of quality products. With a location in the hurricane-prone Gulf Coast region, the DIS-TRAN team has had to deal with storm impact on the business and on their personal lives and property all while maintaining production and shipping. The DIS-TRAN team is available 24/7 and monitors severe weather events to anticipate the need for emergency response. Our dual locations allow us to ship from whichever location is most appropriate and available to ensure deliveries are made.

At DIS-TRAN, we do more than make crossarms. We enable the safety and livelihood of millions of people whenever a storm strikes. Our desire is to take care of our customers so you can take care of your customers. You can't stop a hurricane or a tropical storm, but you can prepare for them. Partner with the one utility supplier who fully understands the need for exceptional customer service, and has decades of experience in mitigating storm damage. Take a look inside our facilities in our storm response video and make sure to visit our website for helpful resources and information on our full product line.

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Tags: crossarms, storm response, wood crossarm, fiberglass, hurricane season, storm restoration, composite, composite crossarm

6 Step Guide: How Utilities Can Prepare for Winter Storms

Posted by Brooke Barone on Dec 5, 2013 3:56:00 PM

As unpredictable as the winning lottery numbers, recent weather conditions have seemed to take a turn for the worse this past week. Unlike down south here in Louisiana where we are rocking short sleeves and flip flops in 70 degree weather, people up north are getting their shovels, snow boots and flashlights ready as the hype about winter storms warnings increases.

Certain states like Minnesota, Indianapolis and Colorado are under warning for a massive wintery mix of snow, sleet and ice. According to MPRNews in Minnesota, north  of Two Harbors is buried under 26 inches of snow, with some areas reaching snowfall up to 3 feet. Also the Denver, Co area is experiencing heavy winds and snow, with expected snowfall up to 3 feet, which has also put an Avalanche Watch through many of the northern and central mountains throughout Colorado.

And what’s also pretty surprising, is that just last week North Texas was experiencing springlike weather, and this week they are bracing for a winter storm as temperatures drop in some areas as low as 18 degrees Fahrenheit.

Just as important as pre-treating bridges and overpasses with deicing materials, preparing for power outages is a must. Utilities throughout the country have been steadily following the weather and are gearing up for storm response.  With piercing winds, heavy ice and snowfall, there’s always the possibility of power lines snapping, wood distribution poles falling or branches and trees falling on power lines.

winter storm  winter storm

Below are a few tips for utilities on how to prepare for a winter storm:

One of the struggles utilities face during storm preparation and response is securing the correct amount of materials needed without overbuying while in panic mode. 1.) By establishing relationships with key vendors who can help the situation, assures they will have plenty of material in inventory to serve them in an emergency situation, allowing the Utility to procure only items required as they determine their needs.

As with most things, storm response has improved through experience.  For example, past storms can be very useful in improving a utility’s logistics. In the case of crossarms, truckloads are often divided among different service locations.  It is important to have a good idea of the usage at each location to properly divide truckloads.  With properly divided trucks, all crews can be kept supplied with the proper amount of crossarms, rather than having a portion of the repair crews supplied with more than they need, while other crews wait on a truck that may not arrive until the next day.

winter storm winter storm

Utilities face even more pressure from their customers and politicians to get electrical service back on line in the quickest amount of time. 2.) Utilities can prepare for a storm by having a Critical Needs List including items such as poles, crossarms, hardware, insulators, conductor, squeeze-ons, splices and transformers, helps to ensure a smooth and timely recovery.

3.) It’s a good idea for utilities to also implement a trigger mechanism based on the path and strength of the storm so they’ll know when to act, which can eliminate potential costly delays for recovery. 4.) Utilities can also be better prepared by standardizing their products as much as possible, and by approving alternate ahead of time so that they don’t lose valuable time once they are engaged.

5.) Ensuring safety is the number one priority.  It’s important that all personnel remain out of harm’s way during the worst moments, and that all safety procedures are followed during the reconstruction process.

6.) Next, utilities need to ensure that strong lines of communication are established between local emergency services and authorities, utility users and their vendors. One critical tactic that utilities should implement is to have a storm response team with members designated to handle each of the key responsibilities. The qualified person should have experience, product knowledge and have established relationships with key contacts or component vendors long before the potential event. 

Whether utilities are preparing for a snow storm, sleet, strong winds or winter ice storms, having a plan beforehand can make all the difference in getting power back up and running, while ensuring the safety of lineman, and also citizens who could be exposed to down power lines.

winter storm tips

 

Tags: crossarms, storm response, how utilities can prepare for winter storms, winter storm warnings, snow storm preparation, prepare for a storm, preparing for a snow storm, winter storm preparation, how to prepare for a winter storm, down power lines

Storm Response:Take a Look Inside DIS-TRAN Wood's Facility

Posted by Brooke Barone on Jul 11, 2013 3:17:00 PM
With hurricane season approaching, see how DIS-TRAN Wood Products gears up for storm response. 

Tags: storm response, DIS-TRAN Wood Products, hurricane season

What Wikipedia Can’t Tell You About Storm Response

Posted by Brooke Barone on Jun 19, 2013 5:01:00 PM

Within the past two decades, studies have shown that utilities have significantly improved their storm response performance while cutting the duration of storm outages and increasing the rate in which power is being restored.  

As with most things, storm response has improved through experience.  For example, past storms can be very useful in improving a utility’s logistics.  In the case of crossarms, truckloads are often divided among different service locations.  It is important to have a good idea of the usage at each location to properly divide truckloads.  With properly divided trucks, all crews can be kept supplied with the proper amount of crossarms, rather than having a portion of the repair crews supplied with more than they need, while other crews wait on a truck that may not arrive until the next day.

While utilities are constantly improving techniques and processes for quick recovery, many are quick to criticize the restoration efforts.  Customers should remember that every situation is different, and it’s difficult to follow one set of rules. It is, however, crucial for utilities to have constant communication with their customers and communities, because let’s face it- we are addicted to electricity…and social media.

Customers without electricity should also remember that utility companies have a set priority to restoring electricity:

1. Emergency services:  hospitals, fire stations, police, and first aid

2. Circuits serving the largest area of customers

3. Individual homes and businesses

According to a study conducted in 2003 by the Edison Electric Institute (EEI), four things stand out about the progress of utility storm response:

  • The rate at which utilities are able to restore power to customers following a major storm event has improved.
  • The average number of days required to complete restoration efforts has decreased.
  • While the number of restoration workers deployed has decreased, the number of customers restored per worker has increased.
  • Recent storms do not appear to have been any more or less severe, based on equipment damage. 
In a more recent study by EEI, completed in January 2013, they suggested two main solutions to combating and mitigating storm damage and outages: system hardening and resiliency measures.

System Hardening, as defined by EEI, is physical changes to the utility’s infrastructure to make it less susceptible to storm damage, with the hardening improving durability and stability of transmission and distribution infrastructure, allowing the system to withstand the impacts of severe weather events with minimal damage. 

Resiliency, defined by EEI, refers to the ability of utilities to recover quickly from damage to any of its facilities’ components or to any of the external systems, not necessarily preventing damage, but enabling electric facilities to continue operating despite damage.

Wood Transmission Assembly

EEI Hardening Measures:

  • Undergrounding- eliminate poles and bury distribution lines underground to shield them from severe weather events.
  • Higher Design and Construction Standards- elevate substations and other vulnerable facilities that are susceptible to flooding, and hardening measures for pole designs to withstand high winds and mitigate widespread outages.
  • Smart Grid- although this technology is still being developed, it would allow the system to detect outages and remotely reroute electricity to undamaged circuits and feeders.
  • Microgrid- still in study phase, but this idea is that it functions as an isolatable distribution network, usually connected to one or more distributed generation sources that connect s and disconnects from the main grid in times of widespread outages.
  • Advanced Technology- various mapping technologies such as Geographic Information Systems (GIS), and Automated Mapping Facilities Management (AM/FM).

EEI Resiliency Measures:

  • Shared or Contract Labor Force- secure enough crew members in preparation for major weather events in advance.
  • Standby Equipment- such as strategic alliances or material consignment, equipped trucks, GPS devices and also secure enough fuel for service trucks.
  • Restoration Materials- adequate backup restoration supplies such as poles, wires, transformers and other components that are easily obtained through contracts with suppliers.
  • Enhanced Communication, Planning & Coordination- make sure to have pre-staging areas and staging areas set up in advance, also have a single point of contact who communicates updates and information to customers, communities and crew members.
  • Advanced Technologies- Outage Management Systems are used to detect and report reliability issues, also infrared scanning for surface and airborne damage assessment. 
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Tags: wood transmission assemblies, substations, utilities, crossarms, storm response, Eddison Electric Institute, smart grid

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