As Hurricane Matthew bears down on Florida, the Energy Department (DOE) is monitoring energy infrastructure and coordinating responses across the federal community, state and local governments, and with partners in industry.
DOE emergency responders are now staffing the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) National Response Coordination Center in Washington, DC and the Regional Response Coordination Center in Atlanta, GA, as well as the state emergency operations centers in Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina.
DOE Emergency responders facilitate clear and consistent communication with other responders and the energy sector, and provide subject matter expertise to help with restoration, and assist the Federal government in restoration efforts. We do so in close communication with our Federal partners, including FEMA, the Departments of Homeland Security, Transportation, Defense, Interior, and the Environmental Protection Agency, as well as state agencies and energy companies affected by the storm. DOE will begin issuing situation reports this weekend to provide details on the storm’s impact, and the recovery and restoration activities being undertaken.
The energy sector, including utilities, have prepared for Hurricane Matthew by bringing in additional crews, preparing equipment for emergency restoration work, and ensuring that additional supplies, such as utility poles, are on hand to respond and restore service as quickly and safely as possible should outages occur. Advanced sensing and monitoring technologies recently deployed by many companies can help reduce restoration time by detecting the location and extent of the damage, and isolating the problem to keep as much of the electric grid as possible operating during an emergency. DOE has been in contact with its Strategic Petroleum Reserve to confirm its readiness in the unlikely event of a major supply disruption. And as part of DOE’s ongoing emergency preparedness planning with the utility industry through the Electricity Sub-Sector Coordinating Council (ESCC), DOE senior leadership is conducting daily coordinating calls with utility trade associations, investor-owned utilities – including Florida Power & Light – and public power and cooperative electric utilities. This strong partnership is critical to effective emergency response and recovery.
As the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and FEMA have emphasized, it is crucial to be aware that the hazards of hurricanes can include storm surges, heavy rainfall, inland flooding, high winds, tornadoes, and rip currents. The FEMA website also offers practical guidance on what to do before, during, and after a hurricane. Most importantly, be sure to listen to the direction of local authorities, and follow local updates. If local officials give the order to evacuate, do so immediately along your approved evacuation route. Energy emergency planning resources are available at the Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability’s Community Guidelines website.