The Edison Electric Institute (EEI) recognized KCP&L, Kansas City, Mo., with the association's Emergency Assistance Award “for its outstanding efforts in restoring electricity following one of the most severe weather years in our nation's history, culminating with Hurricane Irene and a late-October snowstorm that swept across the Northeast,” EEI said in a release announcing the award.

The award is presented annually to U.S. and foreign-based member companies to recognize an outstanding response in restoring electric service to a neighboring or nearby utility company that has been disrupted by severe weather conditions or other natural events. Winners were chosen by a panel of judges following an international nomination process, and the awards were presented during EEI's Spring CEO meeting.

KCP&L was a first responder during many of the springtime storms that hit neighboring states and the South. In early April 2011, KCP&L sent 75 people, which included linemen, safety, mechanics and other support personnel to Ameren service territory due to tornado damage. Hours after completing the restoration efforts in Missouri, KCP&L mutual assistance crews were given another assignment. Workers drove through high winds and heavy rain to Little Rock, Ark., to help Entergy after their service territory was damaged by severe thunderstorms. Weeks later, Empire District Electric asked one utility — KCP&L — to help rebuild infrastructure and restore power after a massive tornado devastated Joplin, Mo.

During the summer, severe thunderstorms affected the Midwest, and KCP&L quickly deployed assistance crews to aid utility companies throughout the region. In late Aug. 2011, as Hurricane Irene made landfall and churned up the East Coast, the company dispatched 35 workers that were the first foreign crews to arrive on United Illuminating's service territory. In October, a rare mid-autumn snowstorm knocked about 3.2 million customers offline in New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts and New York, and once again KCP&L sent crews to help an area that had been hit months earlier by Hurricane Irene.

“KCP&L never hesitated to send crews where and when they were needed most,” EEI President Tom Kuhn said. “Whether it was due to tornadoes or snowstorms, the company provided whatever resources possible to help restore power to many customers that lived far from their service territory.”