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Glossary of Terms for Local Energy Assurance Planning

All-HazardsNatural, technological, or human-caused incidents that warrant action to protect life, property, environment, and public health or safety, and to minimize disruptions of school activities. Such incidents require a multi-jurisdictional and multi-functional response and recovery effort. [1]
American Public Power Association (APPA)A service organization for the Nation's more than 2,000 community- owned electric utilities.
Cascading Impacts or EffectsNegative impacts to the electric power system or other critical infrastructures that occur after the damage caused by the initial disruption of energy. This cascading occurs because of either dependencies or interdependencies (see glossary definitions for dependencies and critical infrastructure).
Combined Heat and Power (CHP)The use of an engine or power station to simultaneously produce electricity and useful heat.
Continuity of Operations Plan (COOP)An effort within individual executive departments and agencies to ensure that Primary Mission Essential Functions (PMEFs) continue to be performed during a wide range of emergencies, including localized acts of nature, accidents and technological or attack-related emergencies. [2]
Council of Government (COG)Regional bodies that exist throughout the United States. They are also sometimes called regional councils, regional commissions, regional planning commissions, planning district commissions, and development districts. A typical council is defined to serve an area of several counties, addressing issues such as regional and municipal planning, economic and community development, cartography and GIS, hazard mitigation and emergency planning services for the elderly, water use, pollution control, transit administration and transportation planning.
Critical Infrastructure SectorsSystems and assets, whether physical or virtual, so vital that the incapacity or destruction of such may have a debilitating impact on security, the economy, public health or safety, the environment, or any combination of these matters. Homeland Security Presidential Directive-7 has established 17 critical infrastructures (CI). Note, this number has since been increased to 18. [3] Most of these CIs are connected in such a way that if one CI is compromised, this compromise cascades to other CIs (see definition of cascading impacts or effects).
Cyber SecurityPreventing damage to, unauthorized use of, or exploitation of electronic information and communications systems and the information contained therein to confidentiality, integrity, and availability. Cyber security also includes restoring electronic information and communications systems in the event of a terrorist attack or natural disaster. [4]
DependencyIn the context of a local EAP, dependency means that Key Assets and essential services need (depend on) energy to remain operational during an energy disruption. It is a simple one-way relationship.
Distributed Generation/EnergyGenerates electricity from many small energy sources. Also called onsite generation, dispersed generation, embedded generation, decentralized generation, decentralized energy or distributed energy.
Electric Utility CooperativeA type of cooperative that is tasked with the delivery of electricity to its members. Profits are either reinvested for infrastructure or distributed to members in the form of patronage or capital credits (dividends essentially paid on a member's investment into the cooperative).
Electromagnetic PulseA burst of electromagnetic radiation that results from an explosion (usually from the detonation of a nuclear weapon) and/or a suddenly fluctuating magnetic field. The rapidly changing electric fields or magnetic fields that result may couple with electrical/electronic systems to produce damaging current and voltage surges.
Emergency Management AgencyAn agency at the local, regional, or State level that holds responsibility for comprehensively planning for and responding to all manner of disasters, whether man-made or natural.
Emergency Operations Center (EOC)A central command and control facility responsible for carrying out the principles of emergency preparedness and emergency management, or disaster management functions at a strategic level in an emergency situation, and ensuring the continuity of operations of a company, political subdivision, or other organization.
Emergency Support Functions (ESFs)Grouping of governmental and certain private sector capabilities into an organizational structure to provide support, resources, program implementation, and services that are most likely needed to save lives, protect property and the environment, restore essential services and critical infrastructure, and help victims and communities return to normal following domestic incidents. [5]
Energy AssuranceEnsuring that local government essential services continue to operate during an energy disruption until normal operations are resumed.
Energy Assurance TechnologiesAny technology that can be applied to a key asset of a local government to assure the continuity of essential functions and services during an energy disruption. Examples include microturbines, fuel cells, energy efficiency measures, renewable technologies, UPS systems, satellite communications systems and backup generation technologies.
Energy Assurance CoordinatorThe individual responsible for leading and building consensus around the development of the EA Plan.
Energy Assurance PartnersThe group of stakeholders that work with the energy assurance coordinator to develop and implement the EAP for a local government.
Energy Assurance "Actions"Any non-tangible activity or measure that contributes toward the protection of Key Assets and community-level essential services. Examples include staffing, training, policies, programs, procedures, rules or regulations.
Energy Assurance "Projects"Equipment or hardware type investments — like a back-up generator — that protect or harden Key Assets and the community-level essential services they provide.
Energy ConservationThe reduction in energy demand through such means as insulation, passive solar design, , and the reduction in air infiltration.
Energy DisruptionThe shortage or curtailment of energy from any threat or hazard.
Energy EfficiencyUsing less energy while providing the same level of energy service. . Usually associated with mechanical and electrical systems such as efficient lighting systems (ballasts and bulbs) and more efficient motors.
Energy InfrastructurePipelines, power plants, distribution networks, transmission lines, storage tanks, transformers, compressors and the like.
Energy ResiliencyThe ability to respond effectively to an energy emergency and to recover quickly from damage. A resilient energy system is not necessarily damage-resistant. Rather, it is able to continue operating despite damage, and to return quickly to normal operations when damage occurs. Since energy systems are not 100 percent damage proof, resiliency is considered to be as important as damage prevention.
Energy Self-relianceThe ability of a local government to maintain the operation of its Key Assets, while providing essential services, without the assistance of its normal energy suppliers, for a minimum of 72 hours. Local government energy self-reliance is one means by which energy resiliency can be achieved.
Energy SupplierAn entity – utility or otherwise – that supplies energy in its various forms (electricity, natural gas, petroleum fuel, etc.) to a local jurisdiction.
Essential Service CategoriesA framework used to group essential services for the purpose of determining their importance during the development of the Local EAP. The categories are the 18 Critical Infrastructure Sectors as determined by FEMA.
Essential Services (definition, determination, prioritization)Definition: Services a local government provides in order to assure safety, wellbeing, and security for its inhabitants.
Determination: There are at least two ways to determine essential services: 1) by looking at mandated activities in a jurisdiction’s charter, enabling legislation, ordinances, rules and regulations and/or; 2) evaluating them according to the following tests:
  • the failure or loss of the service may result in death, injury, severe financial loss or legal liability and it would be impossible or impractical to work around;
  • the failure of the service could not be sustained for an extended period of time and it would be cumbersome or unlikely to be able to work around; or
  • the service is needed and would be evaluated and addressed depending on the event.
Prioritization: Prioritizing essential services can be accomplished by considering whether the service is related to 1) communication, 2) lifesaving, 3) life sustaining or 4) urban systems rehabilitation like repairing traffic signals. These are generally in priority order.
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)The Federal Emergency Management Agency coordinates the Federal government's role in preparing for, preventing, mitigating the effects of, responding to and recovering from all domestic disasters, whether natural or man-made, including acts of terror.
Energy SourceA naturally occurring resource/raw material that can either be used directly (e.g., natural gas) or converted to a useful form of energy such as electricity.
Energy TypeThe form of energy that a consumer pays for such as electricity, natural gas, gasoline, and diesel. Natural gas can be a fuel source and type because it is naturally occurring and sold/used in the same form. Manufactured gas on the other hand would only be a fuel type because it is derived or manufactured from another fuel source such as coal (coal gasification). Gasoline is produced from petroleum so it is a fuel type whereas petroleum is the fuel source.
FinancingAcquiring capital to underwrite projects and actions using private market instruments such as the issuance of general obligation or revenue bonds, utilizing tax increment financing, certificates of participation and the like.
FundingAcquiring capital to underwrite projects and actions using public sector authority such as budgeting from the general fund, capital improvement fund, and enterprise funding. Such funding can be from local, state or national sources and includes grant making.
GapThe specific area or function located in a Key Asset where an essential service is prone to being compromised due to an energy disruption. Also called an energy assurance gap or weakness.
HardeningThe process of implementing projects and/or actions to mitigate the possibility or severity of an energy disruption to Key Assets. Hardening is done to preserve the delivery of essential services.
HazardA situation that exists primarily due to circumstances or conditions beyond one's control, influence, knowledge or negligence (a hazard could emanate from the lack of equipment upgrade or timely preventive maintenance to an electrical substation, for example). Hazards are typically naturally occurring as opposed to being manmade; the latter are referred to as threats.
Independent Power Producer (IPP)An entity that is not a public utility, but which owns facilities to generate electric power for sale to utilities and end users. IPPs may be privately-held facilities, cooperatives such as rural solar or wind energy producers, and other industrial concerns capable of feeding excess energy into the system.
InterdependencyInterdependency implies a mutual dependency between two or more critical infrastructures such as water and energy; it is a two-way relationship. As energy affects, say, water pumping, so the pumping of water affects the ability to generate energy.
Investor-Owned Utility (IOU)A business organization providing a product or service (in this instance energy) regarded as a utility (often termed a public utility regardless of ownership), and managed as a private enterprise rather than as a function of government or a utility cooperative. An IOU is typically a regulated entity at the State level. The regulatory entity (e.g., Public Utility Commission) dictates responsibilities, energy programs and services and rates of return on investment. These dictates vary from state-to-state.
Key AssetsThe facilities, systems, and components owned, managed or operated by a jurisdiction that provide and maintain local government essential services. Example assets include 911 call centers, airports, emergency shelters, hospitals, first responder facilities, water pumping stations, telecommunications routing systems, and fire and police facilities.
Local GovernmentA village, township, tribal area, city or county.
Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO)A Federally-mandated and Federally-funded transportation policy-making organization in the U.S. that is made up of representatives from local government and governmental transportation authorities.
Municipally Owned UtilityAn electric company owned and operated by a municipality serving residential, commercial, governmental and/or industrial customers, usually within the boundaries of the municipality. These utilities are responsible for customer billing, wire, pole, and meter maintenance, connecting new customers, generation and distribution of electricity, and restoring power after an outage. An IOU is different than an MOU in that the latter is a public entity and the former is not. However, their responsibilities are essentially the same except for those as determined by the IOU's regulatory body. (See IOU above.)
Mutual Aid AgreementA signed document between parties (for example, units of local government) that allows for the sharing of functions and services between entities through specific labor and equipment agreements.
National Association of Regional Councils (NARC)An entity that serves as the national voice for regionalism. NARC advocates for and provides services to its member councils of government (COGs) and metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs).
National Association of State Energy Officials (NASEO)A national non-profit organization whose membership includes the governor-designated energy officials from each State and territory. NASEO was formed by the States through an agreement with the National Governors Association in 1986. The organization was created to improve the effectiveness and quality of State energy programs and policies, to provide policy input and analysis, to share successes among the States, and to be a repository of information on issues of particular concern to the States and their citizens. NASEO is an instrumentality of the States and derives basic funding from the States and the Federal government.
National Incident Management System (NIMS)Provides a systematic, proactive approach to guiding departments and agencies at all levels of government, nongovernmental organizations and the private sector to work seamlessly to prevent, protect against, respond to, recover from and mitigate the effects of incidents, regardless of cause, size, location or complexity in order to reduce the loss of life and property and harm to the environment. [6]
National Response Framework (NRF)Presents the guiding principles that enable all response partners to prepare for and provide a unified national response to disasters and emergencies – from the smallest incident to the largest catastrophe. The NRF establishes a comprehensive, national, all-hazards approach to domestic incident response. [7]
National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA)The service organization dedicated to representing the national interests of cooperative electric utilities and the consumers they serve.
Non-Governmental Organization (NGO)A legally constituted organization that operates independently from any government; a term usually used by governments to refer to entities that have no government status.
Portfolio ManagerAn interactive energy management tool developed by the U.S. EPA that allows the user to track and assess the energy and water consumption of buildings using a rating system.
Public Utility/Service CommissionThe body responsible for regulating investor-owned utilities at the State level.
Renewable Energy TechnologiesA suite of technologies that use energy sources that renew themselves or are non-depletable , as is the case with fossil fuels. Examples include wind, solar, biomass, and geothermal.
RiskThe potential that a loss can occur when an action is taken or not taken. Developing an energy assurance plan can reduce the downside effects from a disruption in energy services thus it is a risk reduction action. Risk is not a threat, hazard or vulnerability. It is the odds or chance of a disruption adversely affecting a Key Asset to essential service.
Smart GridA modernization of the electricity infrastructure to maintain a reliable and secure system that can meet future growth. It is characterized by a two-way flow of electricity and information that creates an automated, widely distributed electricity network. [8]
Ten-Step Local-Level Planning FrameworkA Department of Energy-developed process to facilitate local government development of effective Energy Assurance Plans in cooperation with energy providers, other public and private sector organizations, and State and Federal partners. [9]
ThreatsThreats are normally considered a purposeful act with the intent of causing harm. Threats are typically man-made as opposed to naturally–occurring which are termed hazards.
VulnerabilityThe extent to which a threat or hazard may disrupt energy services, the viability of Key Assets or the essential services which a community relies on for its health, safety and welfare.
Working Group/Task ForceThe team chosen to develop and in some cases implement portions of the EAP.

[1] http://training.fema.gov/EMIWeb/emischool/EL361Toolkit/glossary.htm

[2] http://www.fema.gov/about/org/ncp/coop/index.shtm

[3] http://www.dhs.gov/files/programs/gc_1189168948944.shtm

[4] http://www.naseo.org/energyassurance/Smart_Grid_and_Cyber_Security_for_Energy_Assurance- NASEO_December_2010.pdf

[5] http://www.fema.gov/pdf/emergency/nrf/nrf-esf-intro.pdf

[6] http://www.fema.gov/emergency/nims/

[7] http://www.fema.gov/emergency/nrf/

[8] http://www.naseo.org/energyassurance/NASEO_Smart_Grid_and_Cyber_Security_for_Energy_Assurance_rev_November_2011.pdf

[9] http://www.energyassurance.us/index.php/leap/more_2/52/

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