Editor’s Note: This was originally posted on August 26, 2011 by Patricia Hoffman, Assistant Secretary, Department of Energy. She talks about the Department of Energy’s role in supporting state and local response and recovery efforts after disasters, such as Hurricane Irene, affect energy infrastructure.
The Energy Department is closely monitoring Hurricane Irene as it travels up the U.S. coast. Upon declared emergencies, the Energy Department serves as the energy focal point for response and restoration efforts, monitoring energy infrastructure and coordinating response across the federal community, state and local governments, and industry. Department emergency responders are now staffing the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) National Response Coordination Center in Washington, DC as well as FEMA’s Regional Response Coordination Centers in Boston, New York, Philadelphia and Atlanta. An emergency responder is also deployed to Puerto Rico as part of an Incident Management Assistance Team on the island.
Emergency Situation Reports are now available detailing the storm's impact to the energy sector and restoration activities being taken.
The energy sector is also preparing for this event by taking such actions as bringing in additional crews, preparing equipment for emergency restoration work, keeping utility contractors on call and ensuring that additional supplies, such as poles and pole-top equipment, are on hand to promptly respond and restore service should the storm result in outages. These are just some of the preparations that are currently underway.
Americans living on the East Coast should also prepare and follow local direction. FEMA's website offers practical guidance on what to do before, during, and after a hurricane. If you experience a power outage, you should contact your local utility for assistance.
The Energy Department’s Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability (OE) is the designated Federal Sector-Specific agency directing Emergency Support Function 12 (ESF-12) activities for the Energy Sector under the National Response Framework. In the event of an emergency, OE maintains teams of responders that specialize in energy infrastructure. These responders can be quickly activated and deployed to the location of an event. During an event, OE staff coordinate with deployed personnel, other Department offices, and Federal and State and local agencies in responding to the emergency.
Additional information on the Department’s work in emergency preparedness is available at the Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability.