Energy Emergency Management

Electricity is essential to our daily life and is the lifeline for our communities. Electricity pumps clean drinking water and operates our wastewater treatment plants; it moves natural gas through pipelines and powers critical facilities such as healthcare, food and fuel operations.

As the effects of natural and manmade disasters have become more frequent, communities must prepare for potential energy disruptions that can significantly impact critical services.

Moving forward one of our priority areas is energy assurance planning and we will be updating Washington State’s Energy Assurance Plan in the coming year. This is just the beginning of a series of projects and announcements that explore the intersection of energy vulnerabilities at critical facilities and disaster mitigation planning.

We are exploring how our communities can better assess their energy vulnerabilities, specifically how to assess their critical facility power outage vulnerabilities and how they can plan and identify power sector mitigation activities. Essential to this understanding is knowledge of a few key terms.

Current Program Initiatives

Outage Data Initiative Nationwide (ODIN)

The vision of the Outage Data Initiative is to create a power outage map for Washington State that is detailed, timely, and actionable to be utilized by utilities, emergency managers and the public.

Many utilities display outage data on the web, while others only post to Twitter or Facebook. Some utilities do not share outage data information at all. There was no industry standard or guidance on how to share this data. ODIN was formed to create a standard, provide guidance to the industry and assist in implementation.

Electric utilities that would like to get involved can send an email to  wa.energyem@commerce.wa.gov.

What is Energy Assurance?

Energy Assurance is a broad term but in general means having the confidence or certainty in the ability to respond to an energy emergency or disruption. This confidence or certainty comes from three main categories of activities: preparation and planning, mitigation and response, and recovery. Central to all of this is education, outreach, and communication.

What is Energy Security?

Energy Security can mean the uninterrupted availability of energy sources at affordable prices. The uninterrupted availability of our energy resources can be threatened by both manmade and natural disasters which is why one element of energy security is focused on physical and cybersecurity. Energy insecurity; therefore, is the interrupted availability of energy or the inability to afford energy.

What is Energy Reliability?

In general, energy reliability can be thought of as the ability of an energy production system to provide consistent and expected levels of energy under stated conditions for a specified period of time.

What is Resilience?

One definition of resilience comes from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). FERC poses that resilience means the ability to withstand and reduce the magnitude and/or duration of a disruptive event and includes the capability to anticipate, absorb, adapt to, and rapidly recover from such an event.