Local Government Energy Assurance Planning

Best Practices: Windham, CT

Windham, Connecticut's Generator Assessment Program

The Town of Windham, Connecticut is working collaboratively with the Town of West Hartford, and the Cities of Waterbury, Ansonia, and Bridgeport on their Energy Assurance Planning (EAP) efforts. Together, these cities are home to more than 350,000 people.

As local governments continue to grow and supply more community-based services, their current energy supply capabilities are often insufficient to meet the expected or real growth in demand. Also, during an energy disruption, many times only part of a facility or building will need to supply essential functions and services until the normal operations are restored. In order to address these trends and realities, the municipalities have identified 1) mission critical facilities within their communities, 2) existing or estimated energy demands, and 3) backup generators and fuel supplies to ensure the reliable delivery of services.

In assessing the adequacy of their backup generators, they considered two cases: (1) that an entire facility would need power or; (2) that only parts of a facility would need power during an energy disruption.

For Case 1, these municipalities reviewed their past electric bills to determine peak power requirements for their mission critical facilities.

For Case 2, the energy assurance coordinator in each town worked with their staff or an electrical contractor to identify the areas or functions that would require power and determined the estimated total demand. For example, a school that might be used as a shelter during an emergency may require power for the gym, cafeteria, and information technology area, but not all of the classrooms.

In each case, the emergency generator may be deemed adequate if the generator capacity meets or exceeds the actual or estimated energy demand for the mission critical facility it serves.

The energy assurance coordinators in each municipality are also making sure that their emergency response preparations address fuel supply, transfer switches, and generator maintenance at their mission critical facilities. Transfer switches come in two types: manual or automatic; they both enable the facility to draw power from the backup generator when grid power becomes unavailable.

As they work on achieving their goals during the LEAP process, these five Connecticut municipalities continue to collaborate, share best practices and are considering the development of mutual aid agreements to share resources, as needed, during future energy emergencies.

Best Practice

Inventory mission critical facilities, functions, and emergency generators.

Lessons Learned

Share energy assurance best practices among participants on a regular schedule. Maintain momentum.