Southeast U.S. Utility

Davey Resource Group, Inc. conducted two separate inspections to help a local utility receive federal funding assistance after the damage from Hurricane Sally caused major outages across their service area.

The Challenge

Hurricane Sally was the first hurricane to make landfall in Alabama since 2004. The category 2 hurricane hit the Gulf Shores area in mid-September 2020 and boasted 105 mph winds and up to 30 inches of rain. The destruction left in its wake included mass power outages, impacting over 78,000 members of a Southeast U.S.-based utility.

Previously, the utility used spreadsheets and paper reports to record storm damages. With damage including over a thousand broken poles, miles of lines of the ground, and at least 5,000 trees on power lines, the utility needed a more efficient tool for storm damage recording.

The Solution

Davey Resource Group, Inc. (DRG) went to the utility’s service area in the Gulf Shores twice after Hurricane Sally passed. The first took place about two weeks after the storm, where DRG used Partner Software’s damage assessment software to document the damage using iOS devices to take photographs and collect pole locations. The devices allowed DRG crews to visualize the utility’s entire system and access any necessary background data. The software allowed crews to easily collect data and locations of damaged equipment where the utility needed to pick up material and perform repairs. The utility also was able to show when tasks were completed.

In November 2020, DRG crews returned to identify any changes in the utility’s system as a result of the emergency repairs to create a detailed report with all of the data and photographs collected from each damaged location. Using the damage assessment software, DRG was able to help create a customized report with the data collected after the storm. This report would help the utility receive FEMA funding assistance.

The Results

DRG inspected a total of 120,000 poles in an 8-week timeframe for the utility. With the reports the crews created, the utility applied for and received federal funding assistance while improving service reliability for members.

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