Members of the local and regional media toured Mississippi Power’s Anthony J. Topazi Operations Center Monday to learn firsthand the steps the company takes to prepare for storm restoration.
The Operations Center opened in 2008 and houses Mississippi Power’s most critical storm restoration functions.
“We needed someplace that was safe for our employees to be able to get our work done when a storm hits,” said Jeff Franklin, Customer Services Organization vice president.
Randall Pinkston, distribution director, said the company begins preparing for storm season in January.
“No two storms are alike,” he said. “So, we work week in and week out on our storm plan to make sure we are ready before a storm hits.”
Each May, 20 to 25 storm directors, representing different functional areas of the company, participate in a tabletop exercise mimicking the actions employees would take if there is a hurricane in the Gulf.
“At the end, we critique ourselves and the decisions we’ve made to see where there’s room for improvement and where we could have handled things differently,” Pinkston added.
Part of preparing for storm season also means having materials and supplies on hand that could run short once a storm hits, and securing staging areas for storm restoration crews, equipment and materials that will be needed as part of restoration efforts once a storm has passed.
“The key to storm response is being prepared in advance,” Franklin said. “Our entire focus is on getting the lights back on. We know how much our customers count on us. We take that seriously. We just want to make sure we’re doing everything we can to make restoration safe for our customers and our employees.”