- Guarding against potential threats like cyber attacks and physical assaults on power facilities, eight energy companies are forming a limited liability company to supply emergency equipment to transmission owners.
- Grid Assurance, the new company, would own the equipment and would maintain it at "strategically located warehouses" designed to speed power restoration.
- The new company has petitioned FERC for a declaration that subscribing to its service would be one way companies could address grid resiliency mandates.
Looking to mitigate the impacts of everything from terrorist attacks to hurricanes, eight energy companies are planning to stockpile power transformers, which can be difficult to design, acquire and replace. The new company, Grid Assurance, issued a statement saying it also anticipates offering additional logistics support to expedite transportation of equipment to impacted sites.
Subscribers will be able to call on equipment when they experience "certain events, such as physical attacks, electromagnetic pulses, solar storms, cyberattacks, earthquakes and severe weather events," the company said.
The eight participating companies include affiliates of American Electric Power, Berkshire Hathaway Energy, Duke Energy, Edison International, Eversource Energy, Exelon, Great Plains Energy and Southern Co. EnergyWire reports other companies will be invited to join.
The U.S. Department of Energy is considered stockpiling transformers to guard against widespread blackouts, and is studying possible solutions through its Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability. A federal report last year revealed that attacks on a relatively small number of substations could cause widespread blackouts.
While Grid Assurance will not be regulated by FERC, the new company has petitioned federal regulators to clarify that its service "can be part of a transmission-owning entity’s strategy to effectively address grid resiliency mandates." Grid Assurance also said it intends to charge cost-based subscription fees, "similar to FERC-regulated transmission formula rates. Cost-based subscription fees are expected to facilitate subscribers’ ability to recover expenses."