FEATURE // EmERgEncy REsponsE pREp A sk ques tions to make sure the contractor will hire qualified, licensed subcontractors who uphold your utility’s values and standards. The process for vetting subcontractors can vary greatly, from informal connections to third-party verifications. Contractors and subcontractors working in your right-of-way are extensions of your utility. Avoid issues by determining how contractors qualify their subcontractors. Minimize risks The fastest responder is the one already on the scene. Consider maintaining a consistent workload for contractors to ensure that resources are readily available and to increase their system knowledge. This leads to safer and more-efficient emergency responses. Also consider whether procurement, operations and design organizations are fully aligned to meet stakeholders’ demands for reliability and response. 5 a Michels crew preforms a directional drill while doing maintenance work. (Michels Corp.) locations rather than only at a central warehouse. Discuss diversity assistance Are contractors aware of your diversity goals? Discuss them and ask specific questions about how your contractor will help meet those goals. Also ask for details on in-house supplier diversity, supply chain programs and reporting strategies. This will help ensure the contractor will meet your expectations and will provide you with a way to accurately capture that data. Take time to discuss your contractor’s participation in local, regional and national supplier diversity associations and outreach efforts. the communication channels opened can prove critical when facing a major response event. The importance of communicating early, often and effectively cannot be overstated. Making this a priority will establish a valuable foundation so that post-emergency efforts can focus on repairs and restoration rather than paperwork. The best way to respond to an emergency is to have a plan in place long before it’s needed. When contractors and utilities know and trust one another before an unexpected need arises, the customers will benefit. 7 For example, when work is slow in the winter, Michels is reques ted to keep at least one crew on the property for a key client. This was beneficial last winter when ex treme weather required equipment to be changed out dur ing a storm, and crews were already onsite, minimizing mobilization time and costs. Be prepared Hold regular meetings between local first responders/ emergency personnel, utility operations staff and contractors. Provide the first responders with insight into your operations, procedures and the owner-contractor relationship. Many times, emergency personnel are unclear on what roles the contractors actually perform or can perform. Coordinate and clarify onsite command and control procedures so that everyone is clear on the chain of command and their points of contact. 6 30 For example, Michels has held regular emergency preparedness meetings with a major utility client. Discussions at these meetings changed where Michels s tored cer t ain unique tools so that they were available for emergencies at more Work together As industry demands change, it’s important to work together to improve response time and effectiveness. Developing relationships to serve utility customers is essential, and participating in regional mutual assistance groups and industry associations can help. Mutual assistance can pay dividends in response times and eliminate confusion in the wake of storms and other emergencies. Encourage vendors to participate where appropriate, and help them better understand the challenges faced by a utility. Sharing experiences, frustrations and best practices can help everyone learn how to move a utility forward; and the relationships developed and 8 Western Energy / Fall 2017 / westernenergy.org/we Landon KLucK is vice president of Western Power Transmission and Distribution at Michels, and has more than 20 years’ experience in power distribution and construction. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Ben neLson is vice president of Pipeline Construction Western Operations at Michels and has more than 20 years’ experience in pipeline construction. He can be reached at email@example.com.