Cities are developing energy assurance plans to prepare for situations in which power is unavailable for several days. The following tips and resources from the U.S. Department of Energy and the Public Technology Institute (PTI) can help communities be more prepared for power outages.

Three steps to energy assurance

To ensure that a community’s economic activity and essential services are maintained throughout an energy disruption, there are three key steps:

1. Understand what role energy plays in a community service such as fire protection. For example, fire trucks need liquid fuel to respond to calls and provide rescue services. However, power is needed to pump the fuel into these same vehicles;

2. Determine what actions are needed to address any energy security weaknesses until normal energy services are restored. In the case of fire protection, perhaps the necessary action is investing in a back-up generator with adequate fuel storage on-site so the fire department can remain functional for 72 hours or more; and

3. Implement the actions that mitigate the energy security weaknesses that were discovered.  For this third step, a defensible case needs to be made to the budget office and policy-makers so they can make informed decisions that result in timely investments.

Resources for local government energy assurance planning

The following are available for free at

  • Local Government Energy Assurance Guidelines, Versions I and II
  • Energy 101: Key Energy Concepts for Local Governments
  • Local Government Guidelines for Working with the Media During an Energy Emergency
  • Cyber Security Concerns for Local Government Energy Assurance
  • Smart Grid 101 for Local Governments
  • Renewable Energy and Energy Assurance Planning for Local Governments
  • Introduction to Energy Infrastructure Interdependencies
  • The Role of Amateur Radio in Local Government Energy Assurance
  • A Guide to Financing Instruments and Funding Opportunities for Energy Assurance

How to build an energy security plan

The U.S. Department of Energy and PTI have assembled a simple process for building an energy security plan. Some of the main elements of the process are:

  • Build an energy assurance team and develop partnerships with stakeholders;
  • Compile a local energy profile;
  • Identify and prioritize local key assets and understand the essential services they provide;
  • Figure out ways to protect or “harden” those assets against an energy disruption; and
  • Develop a strategic investment plan of projects and actions.

More information on the process is available by contacting Ronda Mosley at PTI is available to provide technical assistance to all jurisdictions developing energy assurance plans.

George Burmeister is a strategic advisor to the Public Technology Institute (PTI) and president of the Boulder, Colo.-based Colorado Energy Group, Inc. Steve Foute also is a strategic advisor to PTI and a former environmental manager for the City and County of Denver.