96 South Main Street, PO Box 77, Nephi, Utah 84648 - Voice: 435 623-0525 - FAX: 435 623-4735
On our front page this week
October 13, 2021
By Myrna Trauntvein
Nephi City has entered into a mutual assistance agreement that will allow power entities in the state to assist each other when an emergency occurs.
The “Mutual Assistance Agreement” was entered into between PacifiCorp dab Rocky Mountain Power (RMP), the Utah Rural Electric Cooperative Association (URECA), the Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems (UAMPS) and the Utah Municipal Power Agency (UMPA).
“We are part of UMPA,” said Seth Atkinson, city administrator. “The state has been the real impetus behind the agreement.”
The agreement benefits areas suffering from weather-related outages as well as other emergency events because other entities can be called in to help without concerns about territories and boundaries.
“We have discussed this in several work sessions,” said Skip Worwood, city council member. “I will make the motion to enter into the agreement and authorize the mayor to sign it.”
Kent Jones, council member, made the second and all voted in favor.
As an association of members, URECA represents eight electric power distribution cooperatives and those one generation and transmission cooperatives who are URECA members. Members provide electricity to over 70,000 homes, businesses, ranches and farms across the state of Utah, said Atkinson.
Regulated electric utilities are subject to the oversight of regulatory authorities, including the Utah Public Service Commission (UPSC) and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC);
UMPA is a political subdivision of the State of Utah formed pursuant to the Utah Interlocal Cooperation Act and represents six municipal electric utilities, two of which are in Juab County--Levan and Nephi--and provides electricity to consumers within their service territories.
“In the event of an emergency, a power provider may desire mutual aid or assistance from another power provider, which may involve the provision of goods, services and/or specialized resources, or the emergency interchange of equipment or goods,” said Atkinson. “It is an outage agreement.”
“WHEREAS, it is in the mutual interest of the Parties to be prepared to provide for emergency repair and restoration to services, systems and facilities on a reciprocal basis, and the purpose of this Agreement is to provide the procedures under which one Party may request and receive assistance from another Party,” reads one of the items of the agreement.
In the event of an emergency impacting the electric services of a power provider, the requesting party may seek help from the assisting party.
In the request, the requesting party will set forth, to the extent reasonably practicable, the nature and scope of the assistance which is bring requested.
“The assisting party has the right to determine if it will provide assistance, including the extent and limitations of assistance,” said Atkinson. “The assisting party is not required to provide any assistance to the detriment of the assisting party’s service.”
The agreement spells out the terms under which assistance may be requested and provided, he said.
For example, the assisting party reserves the right, even after assistance has been initiated, to recall any and all personnel, material, equipment, supplies, and/or tools, at any time that the assisting party determines it is necessary for its own operations.
The requesting party will make payment to the assisting party for all costs associated with the furnishing of assistance and will be responsible for all reasonable costs and expenses incurred in rendering assistance.
The requesting party will be responsible for providing food and lodging for the personnel of the assisting party from the time of their arrival until their departure.
The assisting party won’t charge for benefits provided to employees while working under the agreement. There will be no charges for fleet equipment (bucket trucks, digger derricks, trucks, etc.) unless the equipment is rented with prior approval from requesting party. Actual fuel charges for transportation and equipment are chargeable.
The parties will use good faith efforts to cooperate with each other in all matters related to the provision and receipt of mutual assistance. Each is to fully cooperate and coordinate with each other’s employees and contractors in the provision of mutual assistance.
“One important stipulation is that the agreement to render aid is not contingent upon a declaration of a major disaster or emergency by the federal government or upon receiving federal funds,” said Atkinson.
In the agreement, the parties agree to prepare and share local operational primary contact information to assist in the communication of an emergency and the request for assistance. On an annual basis, the parties agree to update and circulate the primary contact information.
“UMPA favors us joining in and approving the agreement,” said Atkinson.
Electric distribution entities operating in Utah may join this Mutual Assistance Agreement by following procedures without the necessity of amending the agreement. Future electric parties are admitted upon signing the Agreement and completing the contact information. Newly admitted parties have equal participation with all existing parties.
“URECA hereby represents and warrants that it is authorized on behalf of the URECA Members to enter into this Agreement and that, upon execution, the terms of the Agreement are binding upon the URECA Members,” reads one part of the agreement.