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The Colorado Public Utilities Commission, Colorado Energy Office and the Colorado Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management have released a new 2012 Colorado Energy Assurance Emergency Plan (CEAEP), which is a resource for the State of Colorado in preparing for, responding to and recovering from energy sector impacts such as electric power outages.
With the growing implementation of computerized communication in energy infrastructure, impacts from outages have become more costly; a recent Department of Energy study has estimated that should a statewide energy disruption occur, the cost to Colorado would be approximately $19 to $49 million of lost economic activity for every hour of outage.
Over the last two years the PUC, CEO and DHSEM convened stakeholders from all levels of government and the energy community to identify the many threats to energy production and delivery in Colorado, both from natural and human actions, and explore the capabilities of all the involved parties to deal with those threats.
The group developed a clearer understanding of the vulnerabilities and interdependencies across the energy sector and how they relate to emergency management preparedness, response and recovery. Specifically, it addressed the rapid growth of the development of new technologies such as the smart grid, and changes in infrastructure.
Special attention was paid to cyber networks, which remain especially vulnerable to outside manipulation, along with geomagnetic storms which while exceedingly rare but could have catastrophic results.
The project was funded by a grant from the Department of Energy and allowed Colorado to greatly improve the existing and obsolete 2007 Colorado Energy Emergency Response Plan (CEERP).
The Colorado Energy Assurance and Emergency Plan, which was completed in May 2012, proved its worth during the several wildfires Colorado experienced during the summer by providing improved communication, coordination and situational awareness