Click here for a video tour of the Mobile Command Center.
The intangibles on Mississippi Power’s Mobile Command Center are impressive. The 22-foot state-of-the-art trailer comes with a diesel generator, air and heat, two 50-inch satellite televisions, meeting space, and the ability to transport all-terrain vehicles. However, Distribution Director Randall Pinkston thinks its main advantages have nothing to do with high-tech gear.
“We’ve not had anything similar to this in years past,” said Pinkston, who also serves as storm director. “It allows our leadership to move out in the field and be engaged in the power restoration process. The Mobile Command Center is equipped with everything we have in our offices. It also allows us to talk with our community leaders and communicate face-to-face with them rather than over the phone.”
Since its inception in August 2014, the Mobile Command Center‘s biggest use came four months later during the aftermath of the Columbia tornado.
During those tense hours and days after the storm, Mississippi Power helped 3,600 customers get their lights back on just in time for Christmas.
“We found it to be very effective and we received a lot of positive comments, not only from our community leaders, but also from our internal leaders and line personnel,” Pinkston added. “It was the central location of our staging area.”
The center was on display at the company’s Operations Center before and after the recent Disaster Director’s meeting. That gave new Customer Services Organization Vice President Nicole Faulk a chance to tour the center in person.
“Having this center in the field gives our customers that knowledge that their lights will be back on soon,” Faulk said. “It’s huge for our employees, our customers, and for our brand.”
Faulk, who comes to Mississippi from Georgia Power, said the geography might be different, but the idea of staying safe is the same.
“I would say there are a lot of similarities between Georgia and Mississippi, and across Southern Company,” Faulk said. “Safety is the top priority all across the system along with the relentless effort all across the territory to get the lights back on after a storm.”
With the 2015 hurricane season beginning June 1 and with one storm (Ana) already in the books, everyone should be storm ready this summer.
“Everyone needs to have a plan now,” Pinkston added. “Have the plan worked out now instead of when a storm enters the Gulf of Mexico.”