AE Oversight Cmte plan for tomorrow (Feb 21)

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Leslie Pool
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Joined: Mon Jan 12, 2015 3:22 pm

AE Oversight Cmte plan for tomorrow (Feb 21)

Post by Leslie Pool »


Tomorrow will be our first official Austin Energy Utility Oversight Committee meeting of the year. We have a couple of items to dispense with at the top of the 9 a.m. hour, then we will hear from any speakers. Austin Energy will then lead a 45-minute briefing on Winter Storm Mara. The meeting should run about 75 minutes.

I want to remind my colleagues that this briefing is not a multi-departmental review of the storm; rather the briefing will focus solely on the work Austin Energy accomplished in responding to the ice storm and restoring power to our customers.

Another council briefing will be scheduled once the After Action report is released. It will include cross-departmental, multi-jurisdiction actions and decisions made during the storm. I hope to have that report by the end of March. Mayor and Council will have time to review and assess that report, and we will reconvene for the larger discussion at a work session on April 11 or at a Special Called meeting around that date.

The after-action report from Winter Storm Uri that was released in October of 2021 had 132 recommendations. I want the City Manager to include a thorough review of the many recommendations contained in the 2021 Implementation Plan plus the information posted on the City’s Community Resiliency Improvement Status Portal and provide Council with a comparison of recommendations made to actual progress accomplished.

Here are my questions restated that I would like included in the After Action Report:
1. The After-Action Report from 2021’s Winter Storm Uri is less than two years old. The report includes 132 recommendations with specific actions for Leadership and Communication that were to be addressed in the short term, meaning 6-8 months.
a. Which recommendations have been implemented and which are outstanding?
b. The Community Resiliency Improvement Status Portal lists several Implementation Plan recommendations as having been “completed,” and yet many of those same communications strategies failed during the recent storm. Is the portal an accurate assessment of progress?

2. Regarding emergency coordination:
a. Who decides when there is an emergency?
b. Who decides what departments are involved?
c. Who coordinates communications at the EOC?
d. Who is responsible for activating and sending emergency notification texts to residents, as distinct from AE sending texts to customers? AE only sends text to its own customers, not to all residents.
e. AE has a separate Incident Command Team; how is this coordinated with the Emergency Operations Center and Homeland Security and Emergency Management, and who ultimately decides if this is the right approach?
f. Was AE expected to restore power to customers while also coordinating emergency communication to the public through their Incident Command Team? This seems to be outside of AE’s expertise and authority.
g. How is the Community Resiliency Officer engaged in these emergencies, and how is the Community Resiliency Improvement Status Portal being used before and after emergencies?

Jason Alexander from the City Manager’s Office sent the following explanation in response to a question I posted to the Message Board on Feb 7:
What is included in the After-Action Report?
"An After-Action Review (AAR) is a methodical process that adheres to national standards of analyzing a significant event with the intent to better understand what occurred and identify learnings and actions that can be applied to improve future similar events. The City conducts an AAR after every major incident and will similarly conduct one in response to Winter Storm Mara. This exercise will study the timeline of the event, the decisions that were made, and the factors that informed those decisions. Moreover, it will provide the opportunity to objectively assess those things that worked well or as intended, as well as identify gaps, failures, and potential actions that can be implemented to improve the City’s response in future events. Numerous staff and processes will be evaluated as part of the review process."

Looking forward to our conversation in the morning.

Leslie Pool
Mayor Pro Tem
Council Member, District 7