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Utility Network Emergency Preparedness and Recovery is Front and Center in New Initiative

June 2, 2020 By Finley Engineering in

The COVID-19 crisis and more frequent extreme weather emergencies and natural disasters have led Brandon Presley, the president of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC), to form a task force and subcommittee to explore emergency preparedness, recovery and resiliency.

The Presidential Task Force on Emergency Preparedness, Recovery and Resiliency will be chaired by Arkansas Commissioner Kimberly O’Guinn. It will look at energy issues and how to protect access in the face of extreme weather events, natural disasters and the pandemic.

The subcommittee, which will focus on the pandemic, will be chaired by Washington Commissioner Ann Rendahl.

The task force’s mandates are to:

* Conduct research and provide ongoing education on federal funding to support recovery;

* Support NARUC member preparedness in the event of a Black Sky event;

* Seek to build consensus on construction standards for FEMA reference in recovery; and

* Provide education on COVID-19 lessons learned and best practices for the path forward.

Members of the task force include Julie Brown (FL), Gladys Brown-Dutrieuille (PA), Diane X. Burman (NY), Jay Griffin (HI), Odogwu Obi Linton (MD), Lillian Mateo-Santos (PR), Charlotte Mitchell (NC), Ellen Nowak (WI), Sadzi Oliva (IL), Dan Scripps (MI), Genevieve Shiroma (CA), Eric Skrmetta (LA) and Justin Williams (SC).

The Special Subcommittee on the pandemic will gather, examine, and analyze regulatory and industry actions, responses and lessons learned from COVID-19, a press release says.

The key is creating an energy infrastructure capable of withstanding threats that seem to both be multiplying and growing more extreme. “As state regulators, we are uniquely aware of how these events affect our utilities, which includes electric, gas, water and telecommunications companies,” Presley, a commissioner with the Mississippi Public Service Commission, said in a press release . “Anything that affects utilities affects the people and businesses in our communities. Establishing this task force and its special subcommittee will enable us to better identify and address a host of relevant issues.”