President Obama visits DOE to talk hurricane preparations

President Barack Obama visited the Department of Energy (DOE) to meet with agency officials, electric utility executives and trade association representatives to discuss lessons learned from Hurricane Sandy and preparations to speed power restoration during the upcoming hurricane season.

The White House issued the following summary of the event:

The president, joined by senior members of his response team, attended a meeting with electric utility executives and trade association representatives at the DOE to discuss lessons learned during the response to Hurricane Sandy, as well as discuss ongoing preparations for the 2013 hurricane season that begins June 1.

In the meeting, the president thanked the utility executives for their efforts during the response to Hurricane Sandy and noted the strong working relationship demonstrated between industry and the federal government as companies worked to restore power to millions of customers in Mid-Atlantic and Northeastern states, including the resources and personnel shared to assist these efforts by a number of companies who were outside of the affected region.

The president discussed that in the wake of major disasters like Hurricane Sandy extended power outages can have major impacts on communities and recovery efforts, and that beyond the lifesaving and life sustaining efforts, which are the immediate priority in any response, one of the most important steps is power restoration.

In the meeting, utility executives discussed lessons learned during the Hurricane Sandy response that the industry and the federal government can apply to large power restoration efforts in the future. The president thanked them for their partnership in these efforts and for their work with his emergency response team to coordinate and share best practices. He made clear that his administration is committed to working closely with industry on suggestions that could further improve future response efforts.

At the meeting the president was joined by Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett, Deputy Chief of Staff Alyssa Mastromonaco, Deputy Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change Heather Zichal, Acting Secretary of Energy Daniel Poneman, Assistant Secretary for Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability Patricia Hoffman, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Energy Bill Bryan, Administrator of the U.S. Energy Information Administration Adam Sieminski and other members of his response team.

Attendees from the utility industry that were present include:

Tom Kuhn, EEI; David Owens, EEI; Brian Wolff, EEI; Jo Ann Emerson, NRECA; Joe Nipper, APPA; Joy Ditto, APPA; Jim Burpee, Canadian Electric Association; Nick Akins, AEP; Tony Alexander, FirstEnergy; John Bilda, Norwich, CT; Kevin Burke, ConEd; Mel Coleman, North Arkansas Electric Corp.; Chris Crane, Exelon; Anita Decker, BPA; Ken DeFontes, BGE; Leo Denault, Entergy; Charles Freni, Central Hudson; Mark Gabriel, WAPA; Lew Hay, NextEra Energy; Tom King, National Grid; Bob Kump, Iberdrola; Ralph LaRossa, PSE&G; Ron Litzinger, Southern California Edison; Len McMillan, Hydro One; Lee Olivier, NSTAR; Paul Pallas, Rockville Centre, NY; Mary Powell, Green Mountain Power; Bob Powers, AEP; Gil Quiniones, NYPA; Joe Rigby, PEPCO; Eric Silagy, Florida Power & Light; Bill Spence, PPL; Jim Torgerson, UIL Holdings; Keith Trent, Duke Energy; Geisha Williams, PGE Corps; and Rod West, Entergy.

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