On May 15, 2012, Pascoag Utility District was proud to participate in the State of Rhode Island Energy Assurance Plan tabletop exercise, a drill in the planning stage for several months. This exercise was scheduled in order to simulate how the state would respond to and recover from a natural disaster. The basic premise of the exercise was an event that would take down the natural gas and electricity grids in the Northeast for an extended period of time.
In this day and age, our energy infrastructure including facilities used for natural gas, fuel oil, and electricity delivery is extremely important and intertwined, and is a crucial part of providing basic human needs such as heat during the winter months in the Northeast.
The exercise included close to 40 participants with expertise from a wide gathering of industry and government experts. Besides Pascoag Utility District, some of the other entities participating were the following: RI Office of Energy Resources, RI Department of Transportation, RI Public Utilities Commission, RI Division of Public Utilities and Carriers, RI Emergency Management Agency, RI Department of Environmental Management, US Coast Guard, US Army National Guard, Newport Naval Base, Providence Emergency Management Agency, Northeast Gas Association, National Grid (gas and electric), Algonquin Gas Transmission Company (Spectra), Tennessee Gas Pipeline, Dominion Energy, ISO-New England and the New England Petroleum Association.
The exercise was a huge success, and provided an opportunity for these various very inter-related entities and agencies to work together and help coordinate the best possible response. Crisis planning in this day and age is extremely important. We have recently seen an increase in natural disasters as our climate changes, and we also now live in a world where the threat of terrorism to our infrastructure and way of life is constant and evolving.
Pascoag Utility District was very happy to participate in this exercise. It is one of many extremely important tools to keep emergency planning on the forefront of our activities.