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April 21, 2009

Final Report: Mayor's Task Force on Electric Service Reliability

The Mayor's Task Force on Electric Reliability released its final report on how to protect the Houston area electrical grid from storms like Hurricane Ike on Tuesday, April 21, 2009.  The work of this task force has resulted in a long term plan that is affordable and practical.  The plan places emphasis on the use of new computer technology that can re-route circuits and improve overall reliability of the system. 

Officials from CenterPoint Energy say they are working toward implementation of the plan and hope to obtain access to some federal stimulus dollars to accelerate the improvements.

The Plan suggested by the Task Force includes:

1.  Selective placement of electrical distribution lines underground when other underground infrastructure is being planned.

2.  Installation of modern intelligent "mid-grid" innovations that use computing technology to reroute circuitry following an outage.

3. Home or business based generation that gives users options to purchase from the grid or manufacture their own power (i.e., auxillary generation or solar power) and return power to the grid to support essential systems during widespread power outages.

4.  Creation of an internet portal that educates consumers on incentives and tradeoffs of a menu of supplemental "personal power choices".  Schools are being invited to participate by creating teaching modules that families can use to perform their own electricity fitness exercise.

5.  Development of a web-based portal through which citizens can submit time-stamped, GPS (Global Positioning System)-stamped photographs of damaged power lines, which will assist line workers in emergency response.

For a complete copy of the report:  http://www.houstontx.gov/mayor/taskforce-electricity.pdf 

For comments and further information:  electricreliabilitytaskforce@cityofhouston.net