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State Energy Emergency Planning

Potential Causes of an Energy Emergency Event

Severe Low Temperatures, High Winds 1

No. 2 Heating Oil: Increased demand for heating
Propane and Kerosene: Increased demand for heating
Natural Gas: Increased demand for heating and as alternative for petroleum heating products
Coal and Electric: Increased demand for electricity power for heating

Oil Embargo

Petroleum Products: Reduced supply including propane produced by refineries
Natural Gas: Increased demand as alternative fuel
Coal and Electricity: Increased demand as alternative energy supplies

Natural Disaster, Any Major Accident

Reduced supply; disrupted distribution; increased demand for alternative fuels; reduced demand for fuels if industries are closed as a result of the disaster

Major Coal Work Stoppage

Natural Gas: Increased demand as alternative propane and petroleum products
Coal: Reduced supply
Electricity: Possible reduced supply

Any Other Work Stoppage

Reduced supply; disrupted distribution; increased demand for alternative fuels; reduced demand

National Security Emergency / Mobilization / War / Terrorism / Sabotage

Increased demand for fuels. Possible reductions in fuel supplies available to the United States or other countries increased purchases or geopolitical factors reduce sales to the United States or its allies.
1 Distribution of fuels to New Hampshire may be disrupted by severe low temperatures and high winds in other regions of the United States, as well.


A State Energy Emergency Response Plan (SEERP) for the State of New Hampshire has been developed with policies, procedures, and regulations that may be adopted or enacted by the state if an energy emergency occurs. An "energy emergency" is an actual or impending shortage or curtailment of usable, necessary energy resources, such that the maintenance of necessary services; the protection of public health, safety, and welfare; or the maintenance of a basically sound economy is imperiled in any geographical section of the state or throughout the entire state. The plan is designed to reduce the impacts of a shortage to the state’s economy and its citizens’ health, safety, and welfare.

The SEERP relies on a mixed strategy to respond to varying degrees of an energy shortage. The basic philosophy calls for reliance on the market to the fullest extent necessary to protect public health, safety, and welfare. The Governor’s Office of Energy and Community Services (ECS) is responsible for implementation of the plan. The New Hampshire Office of Emergency Management (NHOEM) will direct the energy emergency contingency operations in the state, at the direct order of the Governor’s Declaration of Emergency. In the event of an energy emergency, ECS coordinates all activities with the New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission (PUC), NHOEM and other state and Federal agencies.

Purpose of the SEERP

The purpose of the SEERP is to provide for timely and coordinated notification to state government, private sector entities, institutions, the media, and residents in the state of the occurrence of an energy emergency, and to define appropriate actions to be taken, including enactment of regulations, rules, laws, and other actions by the state.

Energy shortage management mitigates the occurrence of crises resulting from the shortage of any vital resource as a consequence of interruption or shortage of electricity, petroleum products, natural gas, propane gas, or any of the resources used in the generation of electricity; and when it is not possible to avert a crisis, to take such actions as are necessary to ensure the health, safety, and welfare of the citizens of the state.

The SEERP provides a systematic framework for actions that can be taken should an energy shortfall occur. The plan covers petroleum products, heating fuels, natural gas, propane gas, coal, transportation fuels and electricity. Coal is not used widely for residential/commercial use, however, coal by the hundreds of tons is used to fuel the Schiller and Merrimack power plants.

Principles of the Plan

In the event demand for energy products/services exceeds the available supply in the state, or if disruption in supply of energy products or electricity distribution occurs, the state may activate the SEERP.

In cooperation with other public institutions and the private sector, the state's primary goals in managing an energy emergency shall be to:

  • Ensure essential public services are provided during an energy shortage.
  • Prepare specific responses designed to reduce consumption and demand.
  • Work with industries to reduce inequities in the distribution of fuel, including petroleum-derived fuels, such as diesel and gasoline.
  • Effectively respond to specific energy emergency conditions.
  • Restore equilibrium of energy products supply as expeditiously as possible.
  • Assist in alleviating economic hardships caused by an energy shortage.
  • Solicit and obtain public support and participation in the implementation of the plan.
  • Ensure timely gathering and dissemination of accurate information during an energy shortage to guide state actions in responding to an emergency.
  • Establish and enact programs and regulations to respond to the causes of energy emergencies within the state.

The plan relies on a cooperative partnership between government agencies and private industry. ECS will maintain a network of contacts with industry and all levels of government, ensuring a coordinated state response to an energy shortage or disruption.

Achieving and Maintaining Operational Readiness

The success and effectiveness of the SEERP relies on the 3 factors to achieve and maintain operational readiness. First, ECS staff must continuously monitor world events that have the potential to affect the global energy system. Second, strategies must be adaptable to changing conditions. Third, personnel must be trained and prepared to implement the plan.

ECS staff are responsible for carrying out the following steps to achieve and maintain operational readiness of the SEERP:

  • Monitor international and domestic events for probable impact on New Hampshire energy prices and supplies.
  • Review and update the plan periodically to ensure that the response strategies reflect the changing trends and conditions in the world energy industry.
  • Conduct training of ECS staff, as well as representatives from other state government agencies, local governments, the press, and energy suppliers, to identify the roles and responsibilities of each in responding to an energy shortage.
  • Update and maintain lines of communication with government and industry contacts.
  • Continue to improve federal and regional coordination and information exchange.
  • Prepare detailed guidelines and appropriate forms necessary for implementation of the plan’s emergency response programs, including public information dissemination, energy demand reduction, and financial assistance.


For more information in State Energy Emergency Planning, contact:
Jack Ruderman, Deputy Director
57 Regional Drive
Concord, NH 03301
phone: 603-271-2611
fax: 603-271-2615

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