LOCAL GOVERNMENTS, UTILITIES CONTINUE PLANNING FOR ENERGY EMERGENCY
Second year of the public awareness campaign will again include conservation test
Contact: Sarah Erkmann
ANCHORAGE- Anchorage Mayor Dan Sullivan, Kenai Peninsula Borough Chief of Staff Susan Wilcox and Borough Emergency Management Coordinator Eric Mohrmann today announce the commitment to again raise the public’s awareness about a potential energy emergency this winter. The plan is a cooperative effort between the Municipality of Anchorage, the Kenai Peninsula and Mat-Su boroughs and regional utility organizations.
The “Energy Watch” campaign continues its focus on actions citizens can take to reduce their energy use during the winter if and when natural gas delivery pressures drop low enough to warrant concern. A stoplight concept will be utilized to advise customers to reduce their energy consumption by varying degrees: energy condition green represents normal, everyday conservation measures; energy condition yellow represents turning down the thermostat and a reduction in some household activities; and energy condition red represents the same reductions but to a larger degree.
Utility groups have been exploring solutions to a potential energy emergency for some time. This is the second year the Municipality of Anchorage and regional governments have worked together to involve the public. Mayor Sullivan said shortly after taking office that being prepared for an energy emergency was a priority for his administration. “It’s always better to have a plan and hope you don’t have to use it than vice versa.”
“We were successful in involving the public in this effort last year,” said Mayor Sullivan. “And by working together with citizens on the Kenai Peninsula and in Mat-Su, I’m confident we’ll be successful again.”
“Cooperation among the local governments is critical in an emergency situation. The Energy Watch test is an excellent opportunity to make sure we’re prepared in the event of a natural gas delivery problem”, said Kenai Peninsula Borough Chief of Staff Susan Wilcox.
Utilities have several options for purchasing gas from producers to meet the winter’s needs, so the question is whether it can be delivered at the same rate that customers demand it. As gas fields age, they lose pressure, and therefore available deliverability decreases causing the potential for problems.
The next steps include revisiting the public awareness campaign on television; at public speaking events; in utility bills; and via press releases. In addition, as a test of the “Energy Watch” system, the public will be asked to practice voluntary conservation measures on Wed., Oct. 20, 2010 from 6-8 p.m. in order to gauge how much natural gas can be saved through conservation efforts.
In addition to the campaign, Municipality of Anchorage Municipal Manager George Vakalis and Emergency Operations Center staff are conducting table-top exercises with representatives of local utilities and other organizations to practice for a real energy emergency, and develop responses to any unanticipated challenges.
The following organizations are participating in this year’s “Energy Watch” campaign:
- Municipality of Anchorage
- Mat-Su Borough
- Kenai Peninsula Borough
- Municipal Light & Power
- ENSTAR Natural Gas Company
- Chugach Electric Association
- Matanuska Electric Association
- Homer Electric Association