Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Hailey eyes backup energy plan

Costs could reach $900,000 over 10 years

Express Staff Writer

The Hailey City Council got a first look Monday at what resources will required over the next 10 years to provide backup energy to critical infrastructure services in the city, in case of a power outage due to a natural or man-made disaster.

Assistant City Engineer Jim Zarubica presented a local energy assurance plan Monday. His work is funded by an $85,000 federal stimulus funding grant and about $23,000 in staff time.

Zarubica said the city would need about $900,000 worth of equipment, including generators and fuel tanks, to bring the city into compliance with what federal agencies expect of the city in terms of energy assurance.

He said most cities are encouraged to prepare for 72 hours of backup energy supplies in case of an outage. That's the amount of time federal authorities estimate it will take for outside help to arrive.

He said cities should prepare for five to 10 days of backup energy if they are in rural areas or in heavy snow areas, "and Hailey is both."

Zarubica said in an interview that it was not yet appropriate to share details of the energy assurance plan with the press. He did say during Monday's meeting that the plan includes an inventory of energy sources, communication plans between energy suppliers and the city, and regular training plans for city officials to prepare for a blackout.

Zarubica said some of the most expensive items on the plan's "wish list" include backup generators at municipal wells, which supply the city with about 80 percent of its water supply in winter.

Zarubica said now that the plan is complete, he can apply for a Pre-Disaster Mitigation Grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to purchase the backup generators.

The council took no steps to begin paying for the items in the plan.

In other Hailey news:

( The council agreed to open for public comment on Feb. 6 a proposed ordinance that would prohibit the use or possession of alcohol or tobacco products at Jimmy's Garden park and the Hailey Skate Park.

( Hailey Tree Committee Chair Bill Josey was authorized to research details for a proposed Mud Run event during Arbor Day celebrations in May.

Tony Evans:

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