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What goes on behind the scenes when severe weather hits?

Keeping your lights on during severe weather is a team effort at Alabama Power. 

Until recently, they had to wait for calls to come in from customers before field crews could be dispatched to restore power. Today, because of Alabama Power's investments in grid technology, that information often is at the fingertips of the Storm Center team. As a result, they can respond even more quickly, safely, and reliably to customers' needs during severe weather.

Alabama Power's Storm Center in downtown Birmingham is the main control center when a large storm hits. The Storm Center team focuses its energy on evaluating power outages for the entire state, managing the logistics of the storm, and communicating accurate information and updates throughout the storm, ensuring that if any customer experiences an outage their power is restored as safely and as quickly as possible.

From food to supplies, getting the lights back on after severe weather is a big team effort. From food to supplies, getting the lights back on after severe weather is a big team effort.

The work begins days before the storm is expected to hit. The Power Delivery technology team focuses their energy on checking and monitoring to ensure all restoration systems are working as designed to identify issues and restore power quickly. One of the systems used is the fault isolation and service restoration (FISR) system. If falling trees knock down power lines in an area where FISR can be used, FISR automatically reroutes electricity from those lines to quickly restore power to as many homes as possible.

Over on the Power Delivery manpower team, they are focusing their energy on ensuring there will be enough boots on the ground to respond if trees or high winds down power lines. They coordinate with our mutual assistance partners as far away as Michigan or Canada to have enough extra support on standby when a big storm is headed our way. They have employed as many as 7,000 additional workers to ensure your lights stay on during severe weather. 

Stephanie Freeman, a finance supervisor in the Power Delivery Budgeting and Accounting department, plays her part by coordinating logistics to provide food and shelter for field crews. "They're very appreciative of having something to eat and somewhere to sleep that's better than their truck," Freeman said told Alabama NewsCenter.

Storm Center team The job duties of many people at Alabama Power change when dangerous storms occur, supporting thousands of lineworkers to safely restore service as quickly as possible. Pictured left to right, top to bottom: Darla Adams, Marty Harbert, Christy Hyche, Melanie Miller, Vicki Chaney and Stephanie Freeman.

The Transmission Engineering Services team sends pictures and inspection data recorded by ground crews, drones, and aerial operators in real-time to the Storm Center. With this real-time information, dispatchers can quickly send out field crews to get to work restoring your power if it goes out. The wealth of information at their fingertips also allows them to provide you with accurate outage and restoration information.

All the field crews switch gears from their regular jobs to support restoration efforts during big storms. Like Darla Adams, an assistant in Alabama Power's Metering Services department, who transitions from installing smart meters to evaluating the situation on the ground and coordinating planning during storms. She and her team focus their energy on providing the best customer support amidst dangerous weather.

Thanks to our hardworking team and industry-leading technology, you can receive real-time outage information during severe weather. Visit the Residential Services page to sign up for Outage Alerts or to access our online Outages and Storm Center! The Storm Center has storm preparedness tips, an emergency supply kit checklist, and more!