IID honors Coachella Valley Storm Response Group as Team of the Month


2015-09-01 13.25.48
Coachella Valley Response Team with IID Board of Directors.

El Centro – The IID Board of Directors honored the Coachella Valley Response Group as Team of the Month for September for their hard work and quick response to the tornado that occurred in Coachella Valley on August 6 and caused extensive damage.

Seven substations were affected, 130 distribution and transmission poles were downed, and 15 transformers were out. Three miles of distribution lines and five miles of transmission lines were affected.

Damaged power poles and lines. Photo courtesy IID.

Some residents were stranded in their homes and IID workers helped facilitate some of the rescues.

The IID worked in conjunction with the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services to restore power and transmission lines in Coachella Valley.

The estimated costs of repairs are between $13 million and $18 million.

IID Manager Dan DeVoy praised the IID employees.

“This damage created a system emergency,” said DeVoy. “This critical situation was exacerbated by extreme weather temperatures and IID had customers at risk for almost two weeks. The District is proud of the professionalism and teamwork demonstrated by IID employees and supervisors that kept the system together during this crisis. They worked around the clock to restore service to IID customers in extreme heat.”

Over 168 employees were honored. Because of the number of awards, only supervisors were in attendance at the meeting to accept the awards on behalf of the team.

A mobile command center was established to coordinate restoration efforts and to offer workers a cooling station. Workers were encouraged to watch their fellow workers for heat illness.

Power was restored in record time in many areas.

Energy Manager Carl Stills explained the extraordinary efforts.

“This is probably the biggest emergency that has hit this company in the last forty-some years,” said Stills. “The fact that this system made it through this event in these temperatures took one heck of an effort by everyone concerned. Our response to this crisis was outstanding. We had a system that shouldn’t have stayed up that did. It was a great team effort.”

Representatives of the team receiving awards on behalf of everyone were Bill Damilio, Line crews, Mario Pimentel, Troubleshooters, Enrique De Leon, Engineering, Paul Rodriguez, SOC – Engineering, Matt Smelser, SOC – Operations, Ralph Mesa, Emergency Management, and Marion Champion, Media Communications.