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Local Leaders: Prepare for an Energy Emergency

Local Leaders: Prepare for an Energy Emergency

In addition to developing plans to ensure all essential government services within your jurisdiction continue during and after an emergency, prepare a plan to ensure your community is well-positioned to respond to energy disasters.

  • Understand regional and local energy infrastructure—Where do the energy supplies in your jurisdiction come from, including electricity, petroleum products, and natural gas? How are those supplies distributed? How is the energy used?
  • Determine vulnerabilities—What natural or man-made hazards threaten this infrastructure? Which key assets are most vulnerable?
  • Identify local energy providers—These may include the owners/operators of power plants, electric transmission and distribution lines, natural gas, crude oil, and petroleum pipelines, and petroleum refineries, and natural gas storage and distribution network managers. Establish a list of contacts for each of these energy providers, including primary and backup contact information for all key personnel to communicate with during an emergency.
  • Establish relationships with energy providers—What emergency response plans do these energy providers have in place? How do they prepare for energy emergencies to prevent disruptions? What are the local utilities’ restoration plans?
  • Review existing energy supply contracts—Have full knowledge of the terms and conditions of supply contracts. How and when is the energy to be delivered? In what form? At what cost? Does the contract include language for providing supplies during an emergency?
  • Identify all backup power sources—Ensure backup generators are available to power all critical assets and are tested and in operating condition. Ensure there is enough fuel to operate them for a minimum of 72 hours. Identify key energy assets and other critical services (such as health and safety services and essential government services) and determine how much fuel they will need to operate in an emergency. Maintain an adequate number of generators and establish procedures to relocate them quickly in an emergency. Learn more
  • Ensure adequate fuel supplies for emergency use—This will likely require bulk fuel storage, which may raise safety and possibly permitting issues, in multiple locations around the jurisdiction. These fuels must be kept fresh by continual use and turnover. If necessary, consider expanding fuel storage capacity by building on existing storage locations or incorporating larger storage in new facilities. Establish relationships with those responsible for the distribution, tracking, and regulation of these fuels. Arrange contracts with fuel suppliers, and develop procedures for emergency fuel-purchase authorizations and priority end-user allocations in emergencies. Learn more
  • Keep your energy assurance plans up to date—State laws may require county and municipal officials to establish energy emergency plans. Coordinate your local plan with your State’s energy assurance plan (EAP), and review your State’s EAP on a regular basis. More information on your State’s EAP may be found at the National Association for State Energy Officials (NASEO) and the Local Government Energy Assurance Planning (LEAP) program websites. Learn more
  • Partner with other public emergency management organizations—Coordinate your preparedness and response efforts with other emergency management organizations, like the local Office of Emergency Management, Emergency Management Agency, or Homeland Security Office. You can find resources also through your governor’s office. Learn more
  • Understand what assistance may be available in an emergency—Grants may be available to support the development of emergency response resources in your community. Be familiar with State and Federal procedures for responding to energy emergencies, so you may be in a better position to request assistance during and after a disaster strikes. Learn more
     

 

Disclaimer: Because every emergency is different, it is important for your safety that you follow the directives of your state and local emergency management authorities and local utilities. The information provided on DOE's website is intended for general informational purposes only and is not an endorsement of any particular material or service. Before engaging in any activities that could impact utility services such as electricity or natural gas, contact your local utility to ensure that the activities are done safely.

For additional emergency-planning resources, visit the Federal Emergency Management Agency's website, ready.gov. State and local emergency management authorities and local utilities may also provide helpful guidance.