TransCanada keeps the lights on following Superstorm Sandy.
TransCanada’s power assets and the efforts of dedicated employees throughout the company are playing a critical role in recovery efforts following massive flooding, power outages and devastation caused by
“Our employees and facilities have come through the worst of this storm in a truly impressive fashion,” said TransCanada President and CEO Russ Girling. “All of our employees are accounted for and are working safely, even as their own communities are struggling. I truly appreciate everyone’s efforts.”
TransCanada had several assets in the path of the storm, which made landfall along the northeastern U.S. coastline. Those included the Ravenswood Generating Station in Queens, New York; Ocean State Power (OSP) in Burrillville, Rhode Island; the Kibby Wind Farm in Maine; and our hydro plants.
All weathered the storm without major damage, and without interruption in the generation of power from our U.S. Power and Ravenswood facilities.
Ravenswood steps up to supply much-needed power to New Yorkers.
During the height of the storm and in the aftermath, Ravenswood supplied as much as 50 per cent of power to New York City as other generation and transmission ties were forced from service.
Within days of the storm, Ravenswood was providing approximately 40 per cent of the city’s supply.
“We ended up being the single largest supplier in New York City through the storm with all of the main generating units dispatched to maximum output, carrying 50 per cent of the New York City load,” said Erwin Schaub, Ravenswood Station Operations Manager. “In the days leading up to the storm, we were closer to 11 per cent.”
Ravenswood Station Director Tommy Quartuccio said Sandy was like nothing he’d ever seen before, but the plant was prepared to deal with the worst case.
By coincidence, Ravenswood had conducted an emergency operations drill on Oct. 25. That drill laid the foundation for a round-the-clock effort, beginning the next day, to prepare — including the activation of the Emergency Operations Centers in Calgary, at Ravenswood and throughout the region.
We all worked with the Coast Guard and regulatory authorities.
“Throughout the storm, there were periodic phone calls to check in and to coordinate with Calgary,” Tommy said. “We also worked with the Coast Guard and regulatory authorities.”
The plant reserved hotel rooms nearby so that employees could easily get to and from Ravenswood.
“We put essential staff in the local hotel. We had enough space for 40 people so that all the people who came off shift could stay local. We knew the commute to work would be difficult,” Tommy said. “On Monday, bridges, tunnels, subways — everything was shut down.”
Employees at TransCanada’s other assets also worked tirelessly to keep power flowing to their customers and communities. The Kibby Wind Farm in Maine was able to generate extra power due to the increased wind activity.
“We were in good shape going into the event. All the planning and preparation paid off,” said Jawad Masud, Director of U.S. Power, Energy Operations.
Emergency resumption plan was ready.
In the Westborough, Mass., office, the company initiated portions of its emergency business resumption plan to ensure stability of commercial support for plant operations.
“Behind the scenes, there were significant commercial and other efforts to secure fuels, maintain communications with system operators and procure necessary back-up equipment in preparation for the storm,” said Bill Taylor, Senior Vice-President, Eastern Power.
At the West Monroe, Louisiana Central Stores, employees packed a truckload of supplies for Ravenswood to help with the recovery. The supplies included a 300-gallon fuel tank.
Lack of power was one of the biggest concerns in New York.
No injuries to TransCanada employees were reported during the storm, though there was some personal property damage.
At least one employee spent a day pumping water out of his home; several others reported trees falling on cars.
“I think the biggest problem most employees are facing is power. I’d guess at least 50 per cent of us are without power,” Erwin said shortly after the storm. “I think we were very lucky.”