EIS Council • Protection Initiatives - Restoration and Response

Restoration and Response

Given the growing risk and potentially devastating impact of E-threats, coordinated cyber and physical attacks, large-footprint earthquakes and other manmade and natural hazards, extraordinarily broad and inclusive partnerships will be required to ensure an adequate emergency response mechanism.
Expanded arrangements for mutual assistance that allow for the deployment of non-local utility restoration crews and equipment to hazard-stricken regions will greatly aid in accelerating power restoration.  But to effectively save lives in long duration, multi-region outages that affect large numbers of companies and users, whole-community preparedness will be required. 
As demonstrated in Superstorm Sandy and other major outages, local, state and Federal agencies provide critical support to restoration operations by clearing roads, providing logistical support for utility trucks and crews, and providing other assistance that utilities request.  As FEMA and state emergency management agencies have placed a growing priority on planning for disasters worse than Sandy, they have recognized that reducing the impact of these events on public health and safety will require a whole-community strategy.  This strategy is designed to bring a far wider range of partners and capabilities to bear for disaster response, including individual citizens and their families, local, state, tribal, territorial and Federal governments, the private and nonprofit sectors, and civic and faith-based organizations.  The more potentially devastating the disaster, the greater the importance of whole community contributions to disaster response.
To help focus these growing efforts for whole community support, the EPRO Handbook, Volume One, summarizes a number of strategic approaches and specific recommendations for State and Federal Government agencies and NGOs. 


NGOs have vital responsibilities in disaster response, including sheltering, feeding operations, emergency first aid, bulk distribution of emergency items, collecting and providing information on victims to family members, and other operations.
Specific support mission options for NGOs and their partner utilities include:

  • Leveraging mass care capabilities
  • Supporting families of restoration crews
  • Engineering and other specialized support
  • Road clearance, debris removal, and other operations to facilitate crew access/movement
  • Cross-training for National Incident Management System (NIMS) doctrine, protocol and procedures

State and Local Governments

In most states, a Black Sky event will immediately overwhelm the ability of local first responders and their NGO partners to manage the consequences of the event. For governors to guide the operations to support them with state response assets, as well as to request Federal aid and support from other states (under the Emergency Management Assistance Compact system), they will need the ability to gather and integrate data on emerging response requirements and other situational information.
Besides the need for situational awareness systems, state and local response recommendations include:

  • Embedding utility representative in state and local
  • Emergency Operations Centers (EOCs)
  • Integrating Black Sky hazard power restoration into new state plans for responding to catastrophes
  • Strengthening emergency power for leadership facilities, communications, and continuity of operations/continuity of government (coop/cog) functions.

National Guard

Across the United States, National Guard organizations are launching initiatives to scale up support for their governors in consequence management and power restoration operations. In New York, New Jersey and other States struck by Sandy, as well as Florida and other States in the hurricane belt with ample experience in power restoration support, major advances are underway to identify and prepare for the high priority roles that the Guard would play in a catastrophic power outage.  Some of these support missions are well understood and frequently exercised in hurricane states. Road clearance, security/public safety operations, and the provision of State National Guard military installations to serve as staging bases for utility crews proved especially important in Sandy. Other potential support missions, including many of those that would be most important in a Black Sky event, are only beginning to be addressed.
EPRO Strategic recommendations include:

  • Expanding collaborative planning and pre-event coordination for power restoration support
  • Accounting for emerging budget and force structure challenges
  • Concentrating on missions that General Purpose Forces can perform
  • Specify supplementary training required for each general purpose in industry-Guard collaboration force mission

 Share and leverage emerging best practices

Regional, Federal, and Nationwide Initiatives

At the Federal level, the drafting of the Power Outage Incident Annex (POIA) by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Department of Energy (DOE) will provide an especially valuable opportunity to advance restoration support planning.  FEMA and its state and Federal partners are building “Regional Playbooks” that are focused on the catastrophic hazards that pose especially severe risks to particular regions. The Department of Defense (DOD) has launched a Complex Catastrophe initiative to help better prepare the Department to support civil authorities in events worse than Sandy, which could -- in theory -- help effectively respond to requests for assistance for power restoration.

In practice, however, these plans will never achieve their full value unless industry and NGO perspectives and priorities can be incorporated into the planning process in ways that do not yet exist.
EPRO recommendations include:

  • Leveraging the Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC) system for integrated consequence management and power restoration operations.
  • Improvement of Emergency Support Function 12: Scaling Up for Black Sky Hazards
  • Integrating power restoration into FEMA regional playbooks and national planning scenarios
  • DOD support for staging utility crews
  • Leveraging the Department of Defense’s Complex Catastrophe Initiative