Local Government Energy Assurance Planning

Best Practices: Asheville, NC

Tabletop exercise. Photo courtesy of Denese
Ballew, Land of Sky Regional Council

Asheville, NC's Success in Motor Fuel Acquisition

Asheville, North Carolina, with a population over 83,000, is the largest city in Western North Carolina. Regardless of size, most every community embarking on an energy assurance planning effort is faced with fuel acquisition challenges in the event of an energy disruption.

Fuel Availability:
Real-Time Monitoring

‣ Installed VHF-enabled fuel monitors at all county government storage tanks

‣ Implemented a fuel availability monitoring 'board' and notification capability at the State emergency management office

‣ Conducting a 'proof of concept' process for this pilot program

‣ Providing a mapped display of fuel availability at the State level

Such challenges are due to the inherent tension between energy supply, demand and distribution. When traditional energy suppliers experience an outage or disruption, communities must be prepared to be energy self-reliant for at least 72 hours or until basic energy services are restored.

Western North Carolina (WNC) had experienced significant diesel and gasoline fuel shortages in the past (due to hurricanes) that adversely affected numerous communities. Buncombe, Henderson, Haywood, Madison, and Transylvania counties banded together so that they could make plans to mitigate fuel problems during future events.

The approach they took is noteworthy and perhaps replicable in other jurisdictions. Counties and municipalities have agreed to participate in a pilot program. As part of this initiative, the North Carolina Energy Office has agreed to fund the installation of fuel monitoring devices at the fuel supplier's centers. These monitors allow the municipality to see their current fuel tank supply levels.

In the event of an impending storm or other potential disruption in fuel supply, the County Fuel Center and the State EOC receive an alarm message allowing the local government time to refresh their supply.

A second contingency measure in place allows any municipality to request emergency assistance to obtain fuel supplies by filling out a form for the Governor's signature. This process allows fuel suppliers to make delivering the specified amount of fuel to a critical facility or asset a priority during emergencies.

This initiative is allowing local governments and energy service providers to better coordinate their efforts during an energy disruption, and ensures that everyone's responsibilities are clearly defined before an energy disruption occurs.

Best Practice

Regional coordination – especially when these regions have some energy infrastructure in common – allows local governments to work together, share resources and knowledge, and save time during the energy assurance planning process.

Best Practice

Developing an EA website is great for sharing information among workgroup members.

Asheville NC LEAP site