EMForum.org Presentation — October 12, 2011

Planning for Energy Emergencies
Local Government Energy Assurance Guidelines

Ronda Mosley
Assistant Executive Director for Research and Government Services
Public Technology Institute (PTI)

Steve Foute, Ph.D.
Strategic Advisor, PTI

George Burmeister
Strategic Advisor, PTI

Amy Sebring
EIIP Moderator

This transcript contains references to slides which can be downloaded from http://www.emforum.org/vforum/ PTI/LEAP.pdf
A video recording of the live session is available at
An audio podcast is available at http://www.emforum.org/pub/eiip/lm111012.mp3

[Welcome / Introduction]

Amy Sebring: Good morning/afternoon everyone and welcome once again to EMForum.org. I am Amy Sebring and will serve as your Moderator today. We are very glad you could join us.

One of the highest priorities typically, following a disaster, regardless of cause, is restoration of power to essential facilities. Today we are going to learn about how pre-planning specifically for energy emergencies, can make a difference in the response and recovery phases. Fortunately, the Public Technology Institute (PTI) has published some guidelines on just how to do this, and we think you will find the basic planning concepts familiar.

A little bit about PTI: PTI actively supports local government executives and elected officials through research, education, consulting services, and national recognition programs. Research and program areas include information technology and telecommunications services, energy and environment, E-government/mobile government, citizen engagement and responsive government, public safety technology, and infrastructure assurance and security.

Please note that there are several links to related materials posted on today’s Background Page.

[Slide 1]

Now it is my pleasure to introduce today’s guests: Ronda Mosley is Assistant Executive Director for Research and Government Services for PTI and was the project manager for the preparation of the Guidelines.

Dr Steve Foute serves as Strategic Advisor to PTI and provides leadership on its Sustainability Council advocating for environmental and energy issues at the local level.

George Burmeister also serves as Strategic Advisor to PTI and is President of the Colorado Energy Group, Inc. in Boulder, CO. The company assists local and state governments and the private sector with energy efficiency and renewable energy technology policy and program implementation.

Again, please see today’s Background Page for further biographical information.

Welcome to you all and thank you very much for joining us today. I now turn the floor over to Ronda to start us off please.


Ronda Mosley: Thanks, Amy.

[Slide 2]

Just so everyone can take just a moment to look at our agenda as we walk through the processes for developing an Energy Assurance Plan—again, thanks Amy and the group. Good afternoon, or morning, wherever you are calling from. This is Ronda Mosley. I am the LEAP program director with Public Technology Institute (PTI).

LEAP—we’ll be throwing several acronyms at you, and I guess it is my job to tell you what those acronyms mean. LEAP is the Local Energy Assurance Program. I want to join Amy in welcoming you to the webinar and thanking you for spending your time with us this afternoon or this morning.

During the webinar today we want to introduce you to Energy Assurance Planning and we want to share our experiences working with local governments across the country as they prepare Energy Assurance Plans.

[Slide 3]

What is Energy Assurance Planning? It is really very simple. It is about guaranteeing citizens, your constituents that reliable, critical services will be there when you need them. We want to help you understand and elevate the importance of energy security and assurance issues within your city. That is our goal for today’s session.

We are certainly looking forward to answering your questions at the end of the session because we think there will be a lot of active discussion about why we are doing this and why energy assurance is important.

Why is energy assurance important? What do most of your critical services or essential services need to operate or function? They obviously need energy. Most importantly, an energy assurance plan should never stand alone.

A robust energy assurance plan needs to be a section of any city or county’s emergency response plan or continuity of operations plan. This plan needs to be exercised and adapted as changes are identified.

We know that this energy assurance planning process could be a new undertaking for you, so we want, during the webinar to explain energy assurance and the steps we think are important to help you think through the planning process. We want to help you elevate the understanding of energy interdependencies and help you understand your unique city energy profile.

We want to enhance the understanding of how renewable energy technologies could be utilized within your city to promote not only sustainability, but also resiliency and energy assurance. We also want to help you think through the actions that can ease the impacts of short term disruptions and help define options and strategies for dealing with sustained outages.

A really good example is what happened in San Diego. In Yuma, Arizona, a worker on the lines tripped the switch and it caused a twelve hour blackout in the city of San Diego. We know these things happen. We take an all hazards approach. We know they happen because of human error and human involvement and terrorism. We know they happen because of natural disasters.

We want to help you think through some plans for what could happen during a short term disruption and what could happen to your constituents and to your critical services when dealing with something of longer duration.

[Slide 4]

Let me go back and talk about—and I really appreciate, Amy, the introduction you gave to PTI—you did my work for me. Thank you very much. PTI is a non-profit organization. We are located in Alexandria, Virginia. Per the moniker at the top, we have been in existence for forty years. We are celebrating our fortieth anniversary.

Our mission is to provide the benefits of technology to all local governments, large, medium and small—87,000 units of local government across the country. That is who we are working for and dealing with.

We have been working on local government energy assurance programming and planning for the last five years and have collected a vast volume of information that we have created on our own and that we have gleaned from other people. All of that can be found on our local government energy assurance website, which is at the bottom of the screen: http://www.energyassurance.us.

I would encourage each of you to check out that website and put it on your favorites because we are always hosting free webinars, publishing new documents, updating plans and we have a ton of items that we think may be of interest to you and they will be up on the website.

We have been doing this for the past five years and about two years ago when the ARRA grant became available the Department of Energy selected 43 cities across the country, large, medium and small, and granted them funding to develop energy assurance plans. PTI has been tasked with providing technical assistance to these 43 cities.

Now our mission turns to taking all of these lessons learned and best practices from these 43 cities and creating documentations to help all the governments—those 87,000 units I talked about earlier—to help you understand the importance of energy assurance planning, to continue technical assistance and to share those best practices and lessons learned so that we can help you develop a robust energy assurance plan as part of your continuity of operations plan or part of your existing emergency response plan.

How do we do that? Here is a list on this slide of some ways we can help you. All of this information is available free of charge on the http://www.energyassurance.us/ Website. We have a Version 1.0 and Version 2.0 of the Local Government Energy Assurance Guidelines. It has some wonderful checklists in it.

I would encourage you to take a look at that document. It is rather lengthy but at the end there are some wonderful checklists and a very good generator assessment program that we adapted from the energy industries of Ohio that would be very helpful to you. It is easy and self-explanatory and it would help you if you wanted to do a generator capacity assessment in your city.

We have a wide variety of technical papers, guidance, and policy papers on our website on a vast variety of issues—anything from financing energy assurance to working with elected officials, to researching and looking for amateur radio operators in your city that have emergency response—technical expertise—and reach out to those types of folks.

Obviously with funding from the Department of Energy for work in energy assurance we were able to develop a ten step framework. I hope as we go through the documentation today we will be able to elaborate on those ten steps and really explain to you why we think those steps are important as you embark on this process.

We have a lot of technical assistance availability, especially peer-to-peer, which means you’ll be talking to equals from cities of similar sizes to yours. We can connect you to those people and they can explain why this process was important to them, not only elected officials but policy makers and technical folks—and really help you understand why this process is so important and how it helped these other cities as they prepare for any type of disaster.

We are always interested in talking to people about energy assurance—why it is important soliciting participation and supporting and assisting any local government entity at all with starting the process and working with you throughout the process and having you complete you plan.

With that, I think I have laid the groundwork and I’d like to turn it over to Steve Foute, who is a member of the PTI technical team. He will start drilling down a little bit and talking about the need for energy assurance planning and then we’ll turn it over to George, who will walk you through the ten steps. Then we’ll open it up for questions and answers.

[Slide 5]

Steve Foute: Thank you. Good day, and thank you, Ronda. I think we are on the slide now—the need for local government energy assurance planning. I want to start out by saying that these four points are largely determined through a survey PTI took back in 2006-2007. Ronda talked briefly about PTI’s involvement for about five years—that is when it started.

PTI has a list of experts in various different fields regarding local governments and communities and we took some surveys at that time and came up with at least these four needs regarding local governments. You might be interested to know—Ronda mentioned it—in the U.S. there are over 39 units of local governments and that is just in cities and counties.

If you count school and special districts, I think the number is closer to 90,000. Ronda mentioned 87,000—something in that number. It is a very large number. Of them, only a handful has completed energy assurance plans. Of those, they have only been developed in the last few years, so we are really at the early stages of assurance planning.

The first one is there is a lack of awareness in planning, response and recovery, and it shows up mostly in most communities in the gap in personnel who are trained and educated in the basics of planning for response and recovery.

It also shows up in other areas, too. We have found that most local governments do not have plans for backup generation and they do not have adequate communication technology or plans and protocol in place. Many of you know how important that is in emergency response.

For those governments that do have emergency plans, most of them do not address energy assurance or resiliency as a topic. The third area is aging infrastructure. That is across the board from local government clear across the United States. Transformers or switching gears and the transportation distribution system—much of it has aged. You can read articles in the paper all the time about that. It is in need of repair or replacement. All of these things make them more vulnerable to outages.

Cost is a big factor here. What we find most energy companies doing are taking a Band-Aid approach rather than fixing the system. We are going to talk about the smart grid in a little while here. Ronda mentioned the recent event in San Diego. I don’t know if people are just reporting it more because of communication enhancement, but we are seeing a marked increase in the number of events and emergencies which are impacting energy generation transmission and distribution, and services for the end user.

Those are some of the reasons PTI thinks this is important. We hope that you will agree it is important that we get to as many local governments as possible and have these energy assurance plans developed.

[Slide 6]

Ronda touched on these three goals basically in her opening remarks, but I am going to be repeating some of the things that were said previously, and George will probably repeat some of them just because they are important and they are germain to different aspects of the energy assurance planning process.

The guidelines version 1 and 2.0 in the ten step plan that George is going to be talking about are two documents that locals can use to develop an energy assurance plan. George is going to be providing a slide at the end of the presentation that contains the web links to these documents.

Regarding response—local government response can be thought of like emergency roadside assistance, the way I look at it. If you car engine shuts down in bad weather, you can respond by either fixing it yourself, which requires advance planning, or you can call AAA if you have AAA. It may take AAA a while to show up.

Until then, you are on your own. You need blankets, water, food—those sorts of things. It is the same for energy emergencies. Communities need to plan on being self-sufficient for at least 72 hours until reinforcements arrive. A lot of times, those reinforcements can come from other areas of the state or region or the feds.

You better have a backup energy equipment tool and communication equipment and protocols for your own community, just like you would need for your car if you are out on the road. Regarding recovery, using that same analogy of roadside assistance, when you get home you need to have your vehicle fully checked out to make sure it continues to operate at its previous level of performance.

The same is true with energy emergencies—the energy services need to be restored to their previous level of performance. That might take a while. People have expectations in the community that services will be restored and they are going to enjoy the same level of performance they did before the emergency. That is a tall order.

[Slide 7]

PTI has several objectives. In some cases, we are quantifying and in some cases we have and continue to accomplish some things on this slide. We produce guidance documents that we talked about before—technical and policy papers that Ronda mentioned—such as media relations, decision maker communications, interdependency, and DOE resources and web links.

That is one of our objectives—to keep producing those kinds of helpful pieces of information. Second of all, we solicit participation in the energy assurance planning development by getting the word out. Again, there are almost 90,000 units of local government in the United States. That is a big challenge and it is very daunting.

In order to do that, we need all hands on deck and we could use your help in this area, not only for your community but to reach out to other communities and tell them about this opportunity. Another thing we do is provide support to locals. We often review draft plans. We offer peer-to-peer exchanges and a lot of other technical assistance.

We are starting on a brand new process where we are compiling best practices, lessons learned, and what we call success stories. We want to compile these by topic and also by geographical area and city so you have points of contact. City A has learned something very interesting about how to get information from their local utility when they haven’t been successful—they may find two or three other local governments or special districts that were successful and they could learn some of those lessons and find out how they did it and implement it in their own jurisdiction.

We think this database—hopefully it will be a searchable database, and we’re just starting on it now, will be very helpful. It will be a continual work in progress. Then we have the website with some helpful links. We try to do as much as we can for local government to help them out because we want everyone that is possible to embark on their own process.

[Slide 8]

Some important aspects of energy assurance planning—one of the first and most important aspects is for communities to have a good grasp of the PTA Energy Assurance Guidelines, Version 1 and 2.0. The guidelines are just that—they set interested communities to develop their own Energy Assurance Plan. In the ten step framework we offer also can be used to help formulate their plan.

Finally, the federal government has many response initiatives that together form the context for local energy assurance plans. I can tell you the ones I know of that we help people out with and the ones that are completed—all three of these things have been very helpful—the guidelines, the policy papers, the ten step framework and the federal resources.

On the previous slide I mentioned that PTI produces some policy and technical papers. One of those topics is interdependencies. It is kind of a big word, but basically what we’re talking about here is that many community systems are dependent on the availability of energy services. Some of those, as you can imagine—the water delivery for pumping, water sanitation requires a lot of electrical power for example.

Even the transportation sector—many communities have light rail or rail services that are electrified, and traffic lights in every community are operated using electricity. It is important to be aware of these interdependencies.

Another topic is regional planning. As you are aware, regional planning is important because emergencies don’t respect political boundaries, so you have to get involved not with just your own community but the communities that surround you.

Partnering—all of us are partners during emergencies, so this goes for energy emergencies as well. All stakeholders need to be at the table. The number one area that we found that is most important, and I’m sure you’re aware of it being emergency responders, is communication. It is the most important.

If you can’t communicate with someone across the hallway or someone across town or someone in another city, all the best plans laid will not work very well. So communication is so very important. Not only technology and equipment, but people and protocols and procedures need to be in place.

Lastly, knowing the causes and failures of energy systems is also very important because that helps you become aware of what’s coming and what sort of breakdown there has been.

[Slide 9]

Let’s look at two of these causes. After energy is generated, it is transmitted across long lines and distributed locally. There are many types of energy emergencies that can cause disruptions in service from your service providers. Some of us are aware of a lot of these, and some of us are not.

Being aware of the many failure types is important. Some of those are short circuits. Relay switches can go bad. Transformers can break down. There can be substation failures. Having knowledge of these will assist you in any response and recovery efforts you undertake with your partners.

It will also be really useful when you are trying to estimate the duration of an outage for a response activity and communication. Constituents always want to know how long the power is going to be out and they want to know when it is going to come back on, whether full power is going to be restored. It is very complicated and it is hard to give good estimates. The more you can know about your transmission and distribution system and what can possibly cause failure, the better you can communicate with your energy service provider and communicate back to your constituents.

[Slide 10]

What we’ve found are there are some common elements that governments are putting in their energy assurance plan. Obviously, many of these are driven by the guidelines and the ten step framework but some of the common themes that are emerging are threats and risks to energy infrastructure and related interdependencies.

What happens with these energy interdependencies, if there are a lot of them, and there usually are—they are called "cascading failures". One failure in the energy system leads to a failure in the water system, which leads to a failure in the transportation system. Doing a risk assessment and trying to mitigate that risk beforehand is very important.

I’ve already talk a little about communications, which is a hot topic. It is an essential theme in every assurance plan. It includes equipment and technology, print and radio media, as well as amateur operators, otherwise known as ham operators, TV and cable companies, etc. Backup generators, field delivery and training are very important.

Most cities, I would say, do not have backup electrical generating capacity to power their critical facilities when the power goes out. They either just haven’t thought of it, or if a backup generator is in place it has not been exercised recently. Maybe it doesn’t have the right capacity to generate electricity for all critical operations. It is a very key area.

Roles and responsibilities—that comes from us working with you. This includes working with and under the general direction of the Office of Emergency Preparedness and Management. Tabletop exercises and certification—some of you might be aware of the NIMS training (National Incident Management System)—they have all sorts of courses. That is a common element in many of them.

More and more plans and we’ll encourage them to look at renewable energy. Those sorts of applications need to be evaluated carefully, but solar and wind and applications do have places in some plans. New technologies are starting to be included in some of the plans, for example, smart grid.

SmartGrid is basically a modernization of the current electric grid so it is more reliable and secure. It offers a two-way flow of energy, and most importantly, information. It can monitor and protect and automatically optimize energy supply and demand. A power loss in one geographical area can be satisfied through smart generation, transportation, and distribution system.

It really is a smart system—a smart grid. That is where the name came from. We have a paper on that one the website as well.

[Slide 11]

Here are some of the federal energy assurance planning response initiatives I mentioned earlier. We have the websites here. There are a lot more, but these tend to be the most helpful. With that, I will turn it over to George so he can go over the ten step training. Thank you very much for your attention.

[Slide 12]

George Burmeister: Hi, everybody, and thank you, Steve. Well done! I’m George Burmeister in Boulder, Colorado, lead author for the version 2.0 of the Energy Assurance Guidelines document. I’ll talk about the "Ten Step Framework", after about 30 seconds of intro comments, I’ll fly through the steps in about a minute each.

Hopefully you’re looking at Steps One and Two, a slide with some people sitting in a circle. I’m not viewing your live presentation. To second Steve’s comments…energy assurance is about both saving lives and keeping the wheels of commerce churning and turning. This "Ten Step Framework we designed with the U.S. DOE in 2010 and 2011. It will help you write an energy assurance plan.

This is an abbreviated version of what we normally talk about, since some of you may not be interested in starting, or involved in, an energy assurance plan. Building your planning team—we talk about putting together a planning team to write and implement your plan. Usually, the person at the helm is called the Energy Assurance (EA) Coordinator. This person should be a consensus builder and someone that works well with others, across all departments.

You want an action-oriented listener if you can get one, someone who will be taken seriously and who carries some authority. It also helps to have someone who can work well with your energy providers and major energy users, since you’ll need information and support from them over time.

This person is "the hub" of all EA information, so they need to be organized, too. In Raleigh, North Carolina, the coordinator works out of the Emergency Management Office. Others work out of mayor’s offices or public works, sustainability offices, or planning departments and environmental affairs offices. There is no wrong place to have your EA coordinator.

In respect to your working group, you want as many people under the tent as possible6 to 15 people is the norm. San Jose, California has 13 city departments represented on their working group. Since energy is the "connective tissue" that runs across all departments, you will be hard pressed to think of a department that shouldn’t somehow be involved in your group.

Portland, Oregon and Roswell, GA are sharing their energy assurance information with their working group over the web, which can really expand your universe and bring in more support.

Step two is about knowing your emergency authority framework. Knowing what your government is allowed to do, and what local ordinances, state and federal laws come into play during your EA planning is valuable. Your critical infrastructure is likely to be not working during a major energy emergency, so you don’t want to be trying to do your legal research when you don’t have any internet, phones or electricity.

You want to ask questions such as—in an emergency, what does the utility have to do? What are they legally responsible for doing? Who has responsibility for protecting our critical assets? What must you tell the public? How much influence do you have with your local utility when it comes to restoring power to key assets? Finally, what triggers emergency contracting authorities?

It is good to have legal counsel involved with you.

[Slide 13]

Hopefully, you are looking at step three—emergency response roles. This is a logical extension of step two. You want to avoid needless duplication and accidentally contradicting what someone else is doing in your government, or in the private sector. Once you know your legal authorities, your roles and responsibilities tend to fall out and become better known as a result.

Steve mentioned some of the federal responsibilities and federal pieces of regulations you should be familiar with—the National Response Framework and the Emergency Support Function (ESF 12) is important. It is a helpful to find out what your Energy Emergency Preparedness Plan already outlines for each department to do in an energy emergency.

If you have a major power outage with possible lives lost due to a natural disaster—when does the Red Cross get involved? Who calls them? What protocols do you have in place for contacting them and other NGOs?

Step four is knowing your local government energy profile. This is a major new theme in Version 2.0, and only lightly touched in Version 1. Gathering energy data for your local government operations is crucial. Take care of your internal government energy profile first, and your businesses later. It is a bonus if you can do them, too.

This is a huge, huge task—before you can choose response measures you need to know a lot about your government energy supply and energy demand picture. You need to know who is consuming the energy, and how. If you’ve done a climate action plan, a greenhouse gas emissions plan, or a community energy plan, you’ve already put together much of this information. Use this data to start your process.

[Slide 14]

Hopefully, you are looking at step five—identifying and working with your energy supplies. Step four was more about knowing how your energy is used. Step five is knowing who supplies your energy and working with them more closely. I’m going to hit this one strongly because it is one of the most important steps.

Who you get your energy supply from now, and how? Is it your own municipal utility, an electric coop, an investor owned utility (IOU), or a blend of these? You need close, working relationships must be built with key people in this energy supply community if your EA plan is to be most useful.

Do you have a nuclear plant down south, a natural gas plant up north, and a coal plant to the east? How does the coal arrive, if you use coal? Through a port? Train? From where? By Ship? Barge? River? Where are your pipelines? Does your supply come from pipelines, and if so, how much?

Work with your retailers, too. What highways are used for the transportation of your gasoline and diesel supplies to your gas stations? Where are your transmission lines, and how much of your electricity comes from what sources? Find out details about your energy supply, and this helps keep the wheels of commerce turning and your economy churning.

[Slide 15]

Step six is knowing your primary key contacts. We talked earlier about knowing your major energy consumers inside and outside of government. Again, you need to know who to contact within each of these areas. It is much more than simply knowing generally who to contact in an energy emergency.

It means knowing who to call, when to call them, which numbers you can reach them, and what their specific roles will be in an energy emergency. Emergency management folks will tell you that going three-deep is common. Making sure you have the correct contact information for these three people across all departments can take time. Your energy assurance coordinator needs to pull together this information and keep it updated as well.

Step seven—identifying critical assets is one of the most important parts of your EAP. Obviously, key assets are about maintaining health, safety and welfare of your citizens. These usually include police stations, fire stations, 911 call centers, hospitals in public and private sector. Where do these assets get their energy from, and how are they likely to be impacted?

Energy assurance is about continuing to deliver key services to and from these assets. Energy assurance planning is about finding your critical assets, labeling them as such, and prioritizing them. You can look to PTI’s Version 2.0 for key critical asset categories that will help you.

Community centers, high rise buildings, emergency services, medical, schools. Don’t forget water systems are key, sometimes overlooked key assets, waste water and water pumping are key assets. You can’t do without them.

[Slide 16]

Step eight is developing crisis communication protocols. We know that many of you are experts at communications. It is what some of you do very well. Crisis communication protocols occur both internally, within your government and externally, with the public and the press. You want to prevent panic and educate the public about the nature of your energy issues.

The energy assurance communication protocols will take place as part of your broader, government-wide communications protocols. You notice the Facebook and Twitter logos on our slide. We are not advocating for them, but rather are simply acknowledging the increasingly important communications role that they are playing for you.

These sites can be used to relay quick accurate energy information from your government. Mass text messages and e-alerts can be used effectively to keep the public informed—they can help save lives.

Step nine is developing additional partnerships—local, state, feds, and NGOs. Some may overlook this step due to its general nature. However, it is crucial. As you are putting together your plan you’ll soon realize that others should be partnered with along the way, so be flexible and always be looking for new partners.

Partners such as the National Association of Regional Councils, or NARC, and your COGs can prove to be important.

Local industry organizations and associations can be very helpful—petroleum associations, major retailer associations, and other local governments with EA experience. The Salvation Army, environmental groups, consumer groups, don’t overlook Homeowners Associations, or HOAs and other smaller groups—they can be key allies in your EA planning.

[Slide 17]

Step ten is updating your plan and keeping current. We need to keep our plans relevant, current and updated. It is a live, living document. Annual updates, or at least every two years, are recommended—it can take several months to update it. It is very important to set-up a web presence, blogs, special e-mail alerts and/or monthly energy assurance updates. The idea is to keep people engaged and caring about energy assurance.

Table Top Exercises along the way are very helpful, too. Practice what it would be like to go through a real energy emergency. Ronda, Steve and I made an energy assurance film that is available to view from the energy assurance website Ronda referenced earlier. We made that in Raleigh, North Carolina. We interviewed dozens of local government people who are experts in energy assurance, and most of them talked about the importance of "practicing perfect," and how valuable it is to practice hard. You really can save lives.

Finally, get a formal budget for your plan and the update if possible. You know the drill. You’re only as important as your budget in some governments, unfortunately. That’s the way it is. Get a budget for it and update your plan as you go along. Update your energy supply and data, too. As new energy supply comes on line, update your plan.

If a new civic center is built, update your plan. If a major new commercial or residential development comes to town, update your plan. If a new factory comes to town, with new load, update your plan. The more energy data points you have, the better for your EA plan. That is flying through the ten steps on how to put together a plan.

[Slide 18]

We are available to help, of course. I want to thank you for listening.

Amy Sebring: Thank you all very much. Now, to proceed to our Q&A and audience comments.

[Audience Questions & Answers]

Avagene Moore: Ronda, thanks for being here today. Do you have any statistics or idea of how many local jurisdictions have a LEAP plan or whatever they may call their plan? Having experienced some lengthy power outages due to ice storms, I am glad to hear about this effort.

Ronda Mosley: That is a fantastic question. As we said during the presentation today, it is surprising to those of us who work in energy, but this is a relatively new idea and topic, especially for local governments. The states have been working on energy assurance plans for about seven years, but really the emphasis and any funding towards doing this at a local government level has just happened in the last two years.

First of all, we are excited and we thank the Department of Energy for their recognition of how important local governments are. You all are the first line of defense when something happens, as you well know. You have all experienced natural events that have caused power outages.

Right now we know through our research some local governments, just a handful, have looked at energy in the early nineties. We have seen some of those plans, and obviously they are outdated and need some work, but at least there was an effort to look at the importance of energy. Then it kind of fell off.

Right now there are 43 cities across the country—large, medium, and small. If you go to the website you can see who those cities are and get the contact information for the principal investigator for each of those cities. You can reach out to them.

Of those 43 cities, they have to, depending on their grant period, have the work and plans completed within the next year. That will be our test bed. That is really the first attempt by cities and counties to produce robust energy assurance plans that follow this ten step framework. Within this next year, we will have a very good look at EA plans from small, medium, and large cities.

Those will be very good examples of what you can do and they will serve as mentors for cities that are coming in the second tier.

Amy Sebring: You mentioned that the state level has been working on these EA plans longer than the local initiative. Obviously, one would think that if any state plans were available, they would be a planning resource for local governments. Can you give me an idea about what the status of state planning is? If I were a local, where might I find that information?

Ronda Mosley: That is a good question. There are state plans. They are also to be completed in the course of the next year. Some states are a lot further ahead than other states. If you are interested in starting an EA plan for your jurisdiction, we absolutely advocate that you reach out to your state because every state is working on a plan as well.

What they will share will vary depending on information—some information needs to be redacted—it will depend on each state as to what they will share with you. Usually these plans are being produced out of the Energy Office at the state level or the PUC (Public Utilities Commission so I would start there and ask questions about who is doing the plan and if you can have a look at it.

That is a fantastic idea. We absolutely advocate reaching out to the state to see what they are doing and to get a redacted copy of their plan as soon as it is available. It is over the course of the next year that states also need to get their plans.

Just because we say they are due in a year doesn’t mean—I want to underscore what George said—these are living documents. You’ll get a copy of a plan, but it is going to be changed and be updated as things occur inside a state or city. Just take that into account.

George Burmeister: One important addendum there—the equivalent of Ronda, Steve and I at the local government level—we are supposed to know more about energy assurance than anybody. A guy named Jeff Pillon in Michigan—you can find him. He coordinates and helps states with their EA plans.

You can find him at http://naseo.org/energyassurance/ [scroll to bottom of the page]. Look for him on the left-hand side as the Energy Assurance Coordinator or something like that. Jeff can help you with individual state plans. That is the National Association of State Energy Officials.

John Bowman: Energy is a critical infrastructure sector. Considering aging infrastructure, climate change (more extreme weather events), etc., is the sector's capabilities to deal with disruptions improving or is the gap getting wider?

Steve Foute: I’d say for awhile the gap is going to be getting wider until this new technology which I addressed called "smart grid" can get online and catch fire, and investments be made. As soon as that starts happening, and it will start happening in small service territories first with to big utilities, because they are most likely to have the financial resources to be able to implement this. Until that happens, I think the gap will get a little big wider.

George Burmeister: I second that strongly. Industrially run utilities tend to be like big ships—they are slow to turn. There is a lot of talk about smart grid and a lot of money going into it thanks to stimulus funds , ARRA funds and initiatives started within industrially run utilities, and of course municipal and electric co-ops.

It is worth somebody spending many years on a research paper or a document to write about this. It is a great question. I agree with Steve that it is wider in the near future despite all the money that is going toward smart grid. We are making headway, but I think we are a decade away.

Amy Sebring: Steve, can you talk about cyber security—what the risks are?

Steve Foute: As we all know, there are a lot of hackers out there, people who are interested in data systems, people interested all sorts of in interventions for good or for bad. It seems that most of them are bad. Ronda talked about all hazards—that is one of the hazards.

Anyone who has good hacking skills is able to get into a system and disrupt them a lot, because it is an energy or water system, or a communications protocol. I can see if someone wanted to target the energy sector, they possibly could do an incredible amount of damage.

That is what cyber security is—putting up firewalls and doing everything everyone can to keep our systems up and going because information and data are flowing so freely and everything is so reliant on it.

Ronda Mosley: We have a free webinar next Tuesday, the 18th, specifically about cyber security for energy systems. It is 2:00-3:00 EST. You can sign up on the energyassurance.us website.

Avagene Moore: Ronda, on one of your slides, exercises were mentioned. How or what do you provide to help with exercises?

Ronda Mosley: Great question. Thank you. We have a pretty good section on the website about producing tabletop energy exercises for local governments. We have partnered with the group NARUC (National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners). It is a great group and they have produced some documentation called "Tabletop in a Box".

We adapted that for local governments. It is on the website free of charge. Download it and use it at your leisure. I think it is really good information to get folks started. It walks you through the objectives for a tabletop exercise. It gives you sample scenarios. It gives you ideas for how to use multimedia to engage the audience and helps you with an evaluation process at the end.

It is a pretty thorough little example of how to do a robust tabletop exercise. We are always available, too. If you want to do something a little more extensive than a tabletop exercise. We three can help—PTI can help, and we have experts who have done more extensive exercising if you are interested in talking to them about that.

Amy Sebring: FEMA has developed a tabletop for this type of hazard. We have a link to that also from our background page. [See http://www.fema.gov/pdf/privatesector/ps_ttx_power_failure_jan_11.pdf and http://www.fema.gov/pdf/privatesector/ps_notes_ttx_power.pdf ]

Jody Horn: It's been my experience that states won't share plans based on confidentiality. How can we ensure access to plans if it's been tagged as confidential?

Ronda Mosley: I think George’s comment was fantastic that Jeff Pillon at NASEO, the National Association of State Energy Officials, works with each of those states very closely. If you are having some difficulty, and you reach out to your state and you get some resistance, the first step would be to reach out to us and see what we can do to help.

The secondary step might be to reach out to Jeff and the folks at NASEO, tell them what you are trying to do and that you are getting resistance at the state level and see if they might intercede on your behalf. There are partners out there to reach out to help you reach your goal.

George Burmeister: I would advocate going directly to Jeff. Jeff will get that information if we can’t along with him.

Amy Sebring: George, can you tell me more about the differences between Versions 1.0 and 2.0, and that you had mentioned understanding your energy profile a little bit more—were there other things you learned in the course of this project that were incorporated into the Version 2.0?

George Burmeister: In Version 1.0 we did not talk about the energy infrastructure as much as we do in Version 2.0. Ronda and I wrote the majority of Version 2.0. The Department of Energy officials were adamant and suggested strongly that we include a lot of information on pipelines and petroleum industry, transmission and the energy network that we did not talk about as much.

That was consistent with Department of Energy priorities. That is a big difference. Communication protocols—we talked about them quite a bit in Version 2.0, whereas not in Version 1. The ten step process was added at the Department of Energy’s urging.

Ronda Mosley: I think the biggest difference is the breaking apart of the ten step framework and explaining in detail why those steps are important, why we chose those, and how to implement them.

George Burmeister: It’s much tighter. It is much more useful and easier to read. It is much more helpful. You don’t have to read as much and you can go right to what you need.

Amy Sebring: Very good. There is a document linked from our home page that elaborates a little bit more than George did today and I expect that to be real helpful to folks to see it at a glance and get deeper in as needed on the ten step process.

Isabel McCurdy: Are you partnering with any other international organizations?

Ronda Mosley: That is a good question. I lived in Central America for six years and I have a lot of contacts still. They are very interested in this—Mexico, all the way down through Central America. I know that the Pacific Northwest Institute in Seattle is working across borders on some interdependency issues.

I hope that you and I can talk. I encourage you to reach out to me—send me an email or give me a call, and let’s investigate that further. There have been some exercises hosted by the Department of Energy across the borders and they have been well received. I think taking Energy Assurance both north and south is a fantastic idea.

It resonates very well. I am working on some translations of some of the documents into Spanish. We could certainly do that in French as well. I think it resonates. There is nothing super scientific about this—it is a good planning process and it is very important.

I would encourage you to take these documents and share them with everyone—your colleagues. I would love to go to Canada, so absolutely.

Avagene Moore: Steve, are your Energy Assurance Webinars recorded and available on the Web site?

Ronda Mosley: There are, and the Power Points as well. You can download them any time at your leisure. We have released over the course of the last five months a guidance document and a webinar starting in July. You can go back and look at those. It is another attempt to further break apart the ten step framework.

We did it in Version 2.0, and we are going further in producing guidance documents about certain steps of the ten steps. It is additional information. For instance, the cyber security webinar and document are available this month—it is in recognition of cyber security month. The webinar will be next Tuesday.

You can download the document free of charge and ask questions of the panel as they talk about cyber security. In November we are releasing the document of the webinar on interdependencies. We have released several other documents. Feel free to go in, download the documents, look at the webinar, look at the Power Points, listen to the audio, and share it with colleagues. It is all here to help you through the planning process.

Amy Sebring: Just before we close, Ronda if I may give you an opportunity, any other projects coming up you would like folks to be aware of?

Ronda Mosley: While I staff at PTI, I also staff our public safety work. For those of you who are interested, please drop me a line because we are starting a new project looking at bio-defense architecture for cities and counties. That is with a little bit of funding from the Department of Homeland Security.

We are specifically looking at if a large anthrax attack, or something like that, were to happen and helping to create a framework in an architecture for cities to respond to that—so it is bio-defense architecture and bio-defense framework. What we’re doing it putting together a survey. We would like to have your email address so we can send you the survey and have you fill it out and give us your insights as to if we are on the right track with the framework and the architecture.

We will also do a series of webinars. They will be on the PTI website (PTI.org). If you want to take a look at what we are doing, feel free to participate in the webinars and ask questions. Leave your email with me so I can send you the survey.

Our friends from Canada or from the south –Mexico through Central America—we are interested in your input as well. These issues cross borders and boundaries. Something like this is terrifying to me, and I’m sure to you as well. It is not going to stop at a border. It is going to continue. We all need to work together to solve problems and look at this issue and try to create frameworks and architectures to combat it when it does happen.


Amy Sebring: Thank you. Time to wrap for today. On behalf of Avagene and myself and all our participants today, thank you very much Ronda, Steve and George. This has been a good learning experience and we appreciate your taking the time to be with us. We wish you and PTI continued success with your efforts.

Again, the video and audio recordings should be available later this afternoon. If you are not on our mailing list and would like to get notices of future sessions and availability of transcripts, just go to our home page to Subscribe.

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Our next program will take place Wednesday, October 26th. Please watch for our announcement and plan to be with us then. Until next time, thanks to everyone for participating today and please take time to provide your input on this document and the others. Have a great afternoon. We are adjourned.