DOE Reorganization of Energy Contingency Planning Holds Promise--But Questions Remain

EMD-81-57: Published: Mar 4, 1981. Publicly Released: Mar 5, 1981.

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In the past, the Government has not been able to act quickly to cope with energy shortages. An analysis of the adequacy of the Department of Energy's (DOE) organization for energy contingency planning and crisis management was presented.

Some broad conclusions were reached regarding problems with the current DOE draft contingency plan and its organizational structure which include that: (1) preparation of adequate oil import contingency plans is so important to the Nation's security that it should be a top priority item on the DOE agenda; (2) the Nation cannot cope with substantial oil import disruptions at present, largely because U.S. contingency plans are not well developed; (3) while some progress has been made in contingency planning, substantial organizational deficiencies have held back more rapid progress; and (4) contingency planning has had low priority, been decentralized, been directed by a person without the authority to command adequate support from other DOE offices, and has not been sufficiently staffed. The current DOE reorganization only partly addresses these problems. Furthermore, it is questionable whether an adequate organizational structure exists which could effectively manage a crisis. In the event of an actual energy supply disruption, it is necessary that an organization exist for crisis management, which (1) brings key officials of both the public and private sectors together to make important decisions in a timely, efficient, and effective manner, and (2) provides these officials with the necessary support staff and physical facilities. The fact that no comprehensive or individual action plans are finished and that many areas are not covered indicates that the subject has not been given sufficiently high DOE priority.

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