As Hurricane Harvey impacts Texas, the Department of Energy (DOE) is closely monitoring energy infrastructure impacts and coordinating across the federal community, state and local governments, and with industry partners. 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 Denton, TX as well as the Texas State Emergency Operations Center in Austin, TX. DOE emergency responders facilitate communication and situational awareness of energy sector requirements and impacts and provide subject matter expertise to expedite restoration.
DOE is issuing publicly-available situation reports based on the storm’s impact, and on restoration activities being undertaken. Those updates are available at the Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability’s website.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicts catastrophic and life-threatening flooding, which could have an impact on power substations and other energy infrastructure resulting in longer restoration times. The energy sector has prepared for Hurricane Harvey by pre-positioning additional crews, supplies, and equipment to support emergency restoration work. Further, electricity, oil, and natural gas industry partners are conducting daily coordination calls with DOE to identify gaps in resources and coordinate response efforts. This event is of extended duration. So in the event of service disruption, residents may need to be patient until conditions are deemed safe for utility work crews to begin their work. As the Edison Electric Institute explains, flooding creates a unique and dangerous environment for restoring power. To learn more about the process that electric companies follow during restoration under flooding conditions, click HERE.