Federal Grant Improves Emergency Power in Aspen
The City of Aspen was recently awarded a Department of Energy grant for improving its energy assurance plan, which makes sure critical customers like police, sheriff and fire departments get continuous electrical service even during emergencies.

The $60,000 grant came from the Department’s Local Energy Assurance Program, which provides grants, training and support for communities so they can provide life-saving services during an energy emergency.

“Aspen is relatively isolated and has the potential to be subject to a variety of natural disasters like blizzards, mudslides, rockslides and wildfires,” said Phil Overeynder, public works director for the City of Aspen. “Aspen Electric is always looking for ways to increase the reliability and efficiency of our services, and we were in need of an updated emergency response plan that increased Aspen’s energy resiliency during potential outages and emergencies. This grant gives us the ability to take that next step.”

The grant will provide Aspen with funding to create a strong Energy Assurance Plan, which will include a list of critical customers on supplementary oxygen or other electric health devices and essential buildings. The plan will map out how to contact these customers with information about outages and strategies to ensure service whenever possible.
“The plan will draw from sections of the City’s current Emergency Response Plan and will outline how Aspen Electric will provide the most reliable service possible and, in times of emergency, provide uninterrupted service to key emergency response centers and critical customers,” Overeynder said. 

There will also be a set of table-top exercises to enable essential personnel to run through several different emergency scenarios.

“By creating and implementing an Energy Assurance Plan with this grant, Aspen will become better prepared to deal with emergencies and outages. Critical customers will be better served, and our emergency responders will be better informed,” Overeynder said.

For more information on the Local Energy Assurance Program, go here: http://www.energyassurance.us/index.php/leap/inside/C5.

Posted on Wednesday, July 14, 2010