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Governor Herbert thanks utility and energy infrastructure leaders for earthquake response

'We saw a tremendous amount of response all across the state.'
Posted at 8:38 AM, Mar 26, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-26 10:38:21-04

Governor Gary R. Herbert on Thursday recognized the leadership of Rocky Mountain Power, and other key energy infrastructure leaders for their work in ensuring the safety and restoration of power to thousands of customers following the earthquake that shook Utah last Wednesday.

"We saw a tremendous amount of response all across the state,” Herbert said. “I want to thank Rocky Mountain Power and the other infrastructure stakeholders for quickly responding and ensuring the safety of all Utahns."

Roughly 75,000 customers along the Wasatch Front lost power after a 5.7 magnitude earthquake occurred near Magna at 7:09 a.m.

Rocky Mountain Power’s immediate response to evacuate their Salt Lake headquarters, while seamlessly transferring their control operations and call centers to Portland, allowed business to continue amid repairs.

The majority of damage to their equipment and facilities was isolated to 10 substations in the Salt Lake Valley, while the overall system self-protected as designed, resulting in minimal damage to the electrical network.

Due to the company’s response and repair strategy, all but a handful of single-customer outages were restored by 10:30 p.m. that evening.

"Rocky Mountain Power diligently plans and trains to restore service to our customers during all types of disasters," said Gary Hoogeveen, Rocky Mountain Power president and CEO. "Our quick response time is a testament to the values we share with the state, including preparedness and commitment to those we serve."

Statewide coordination across the energy sector, including communication with utilities, refineries and pipeline authorities was led by the State of Utah’s Division of Emergency Management and the Governor’s Office of Energy Development. For several years, the Governor’s Office of Energy Development has been partnering with Utah’s Division of Emergency Management and the National Association of State Energy Officials to identify opportunities to coordinate and plan for various emergency scenarios.

“Due to the incredible leadership and response efforts of Utah’s energy sector, including its utilities, refineries, and pipeline service companies, we were able to significantly lessen the level of disruption that otherwise could have occurred as a result of the earthquake,” said Rob Simmons, the Governor’s energy advisor and executive director of the Governor’s Office of Energy Development. “I am grateful for the strong partnership that exists between Utah’s public and private sectors in delivering safe and reliable energy to millions of Utahns everyday.”