When power goes out, everyone looks to the utility companies to get everything back online. There is an enormous responsibility placed on the shoulders of these companies, who need to act quickly and efficiently under enormous scrutiny from public and local media. They also often face significant supply and transportation challenges.

Thoughtful and strategic planning and preparation with respect to establishing and maintaining a reliable backup fuel supply can go a long way toward overcoming those challenges and not only keeping the lights on, but ensuring the safety of clients and employees. Smart fueling decisions can improve operational efficiencies, controls costs, and reduce the impact and minimize the disruption of a widespread outage.

Value cost controls

Utility operators, like all other businesses, typically ask for bids from multiple companies for their fueling needs. Low fuel prices are an essential part of some utility companies’ business model, and affordability becomes a top priority when looking for a partner. While cost is important, however, make sure you are not sacrificing quality and experience—providers with a higher-level expertise can often foresee and prevent problems that may trip low cost carriers up and hinder your operations. Low cost providers are often not able to provide a comparable level of performance and may not be able to guarantee fuel delivery, a prompt response time or a secure supply.

Plan and practice

Once a utility company has selected a provider and put an emergency fueling plan in place, reinforcing the policies, procedures and processes that makes that plan work need to be reinforced through regular and rigorous testing. The last thing any utility company wants is to discover a flaw in their emergency plan in the middle of a genuine emergency.

Ask the right questions

Utility companies need to know what questions to ask their potential fueling vendors. Can they deliver 24/7/365 guaranteed? Even in emergencies? What is their response time like? Do they have access to a secured supply, in case there is a regional shortage or access is disrupted? Are they capable of delivering in small time windows and operating under the sometimes intense pressure of tight deadlines and extreme conditions? Do they have experience working in dangerous situations (dealing with live wires, often in adverse weather conditions)? What kinds of safety credentials/qualifications do they have, and what kinds of safety protocols and testing procedures do they have in place?

In an industry where reputations (and fortunes) are made and lost based on how companies respond in emergency circumstances, few things are more important than guaranteed delivery—even when a storm or region-wide outage/emergency makes delivery difficult. A fueling partner who will be there when needed no matter what should be the highest priority for any utility company.

If you’re looking for a reliable fueling partner or want to learn more about Atlas Oil’s on-site and mobile fueling programs, or our emergency fuel service offerings, contact Joe Snyder at jsnyder@atlasoil.com .