City, Utilities Continue Energy Watch Campaign, Public Awareness for Energy Emergency
ANCHORAGE- Mayor Dan Sullivan today unveiled the fourth annual Energy Watch communication plan designed to inform the public about a potential energy emergency this winter. In a scheduled test of the “Energy Watch” system, the public will be asked to practice energy use reduction on Tues., Oct. 30, 2012 from 6-8 p.m. in order to gauge how much natural gas can be saved through conservation efforts.
“With your help of conserving energy use, we can monitor gas levels and be a better prepared city,” Mayor Sullivan said during his press briefing on October 24, 2012.
The plan is a collaborative effort between the Municipality of Anchorage and regional utility organizations.
New this year, a Facebook page “Alaska Energy Watch” has been created to communicate gas shortfalls and alert the public in the event of an energy crisis. The new page can be found at: www.facebook.com/alaskaenergywatch.
This campaign focuses on actions citizens can take to reduce their energy use during the winter if and when natural gas delivery pressures drop low enough to warrant concern.
The stoplight concept will continue to be utilized to advise customers to reduce their energy consumption by varying degrees: Energy condition green represents normal, everyday conservation measures; Energy condition yellow represents turning down the thermostat and a reduction in some household activities; and Energy condition red represents the same reductions but to a larger degree.
Utility groups have been exploring solutions to a potential energy emergency for some time.
Mayor Sullivan said being prepared for an energy emergency continues to be a priority for his administration.
“As we have seen in recent months, you can never be too prepared for a disaster in Alaska. I encourage you to make a plan with your family and be equipped during extreme winter conditions.”
Utilities have sufficient volumes of gas under contract from producers to meet the winter’s needs; the question is whether it can be delivered at the same rate that customers demand it.
As gas fields age, they lose pressure, and therefore available deliverability decreases causing the potential for problems.
In addition to the campaign, Municipal Manager George Vakalis and the Emergency Operations Center are planning a table-top exercise among representatives of local utilities in November to practice for a real energy emergency, and develop responses to any unanticipated challenges.
The following organizations are participating in the “Energy Watch” campaign:
• Municipal Light & Power
• Chugach Electric Assoc.
• ENSTAR Natural Gas Co.
• Matanuska Electric Assoc.
• Homer Electric Assoc.
• Kenai Peninsula Borough
• Matanuska-Susitna Valley Borough
• Municipality of Anchorage