• Encourage firms to offer “preferred customer”services that assure continued availability of services to those customers who have paid a fee which allows the companies to make the necessary additional investments. For example, customers of some fuel companies are now offered preferential delivery positions during emergencies in exchange for a fee. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania may be able to create a supportive environment for preferential service agreements in other industries by increasing the awareness of potential blackouts. Entities such as gas stations have no incentive to install emergency power systems unless they are permitted to recover their cost through surcharges during emergencies. Such surcharges would be in the public interest, and the Commonwealth should consider studying whether barriers exist to fostering back-up power installations funded through peak charges.
• Require organizations to post public information on the presence or absence of back-up or other solutions to keep specific services such as elevators or gasoline pumps running in the event of a power disruption. In much the same way that the publication of EPA’s toxic release inventory has induced many companies to cut emissions, such postings might induce companies to take steps to make their critical services more robust.
• Make changes in building codes and other legal requirements for business practice. For example, a decade ago Pittsburgh adopted a building code that requires elevators in newly constructed buildings of more than seven stories to have back-up power. Similarly, a community could require, as a condition of doing business, that firms operating gasoline pumps, ATM machines, or similar devices must work together to arrange that some percentage of them will remain operational in the event of a power outage.
• Provide tax incentives, subsidies, or grant programs to support the development of needed facilities. Given limited resources, this option should be used sparingly, but there might be some circumstances, such as certain upgrades in the emergency rooms of private hospitals, that warrant modest assistance.
• Pass laws or change regulations to facilitate the construction, interconnection, and operation of distributed generation systems, and the operation of competitive micro-grid systems
The Pennsylvania study also suggested the following options, which might be pursued to encourage or require public and nonprofit parties to improve the reliability of important social services (PA DEP, 2005, pp. 92-93)
• Provide information and suggestions to local governments and non-profit organizations, such as hospitals, to help them see how they might benefit from strategies that would make the services they provide more robust in the face of power outages. For example, LED traffic lights require far less power than conventional traffic lights. Cities and towns could be encouraged to covert to LED systems and add trickle charge battery back-up. Such systems have capital expenses of several thousand dollars per intersection over the cost of an LED conversion without back-up, but this may be justified for critical urban corridors.
• Offer selective state subsidy programs, or lobby for the creation of selective Federal subsidy programs, to cover just the incremental cost of making systems more robust. To continue with the traffic light example above, such a program might cover only the trickle-charge battery backup portion of the costs of conversion. Since this would dramatically improve the access of emergency vehicles during power blackouts, it might be a program that the DHS should support. Federal funding already exists for emergency power for air navigation. Restricted funds may be available from the DHS for increased security, the Airport Trust Fund for hub and reliever airports, and the Highway Trust Fund for tunnels. Use of state and local general tax revenue may be justified for survivable missions, such as police precinct back-up power. Water and sewer system back-up should be studied as systems are repaired and upgraded. A formal investigation of funding sources such as these is warranted.
One issue that the Pennsylvania report does not address is the range of actions that individuals can take to reduce their own vulnerabilities. These include such simple precautions as stocking basic supplies such as extra batteries and storing a supply of drinking water (as well as understanding that hot water heaters contain such a supply); owning hand crank radios and cell-phone chargers; stocking fuel for camp stoves and portable generators, and so on. While a few citizens, particularly in rural areas, have long taken such actions, many more would be wise to do so. Local governments could do much to raise citizen awareness of the value of such precautionary preparation.
The United States and its political subdivisions vary greatly in terms of demographics, political culture, geography, and attractiveness as a terrorist target. For that reason, no one strategy can be expected to meet the needs of all regions or all situations. However, the committee believes that the need to do systematic public and private planning applies to every community. The committee also believes that the very fact that communities have prevention and restoration plans for critical services and infrastructure could serve as a deterrent to terrorist attack.
Many studies have looked at the potential reliability benefits of distributed generation resources and micro-grids (Galvin Electricity Initiative, 2006; King, 2006; Lovins and Lovins, 1982; Zerriffi, 2004; Zerriffi et al., 2005). The stochastic simulations conducted by Zerriffi suggest that massive use of distributed resources can achieve reliability improvements over conventional power system architectures of several orders of magnitude. However, the regional reliability benefits that could be achieved with more modest use of distributed resources are less clear. To achieve full benefits from such systems, changes would need to be made in the standards and operating strategies of distribution systems, which, because they lack intelligent real-time control, typi-