The U.S. government Shut Down is now in its tenth day. Many cities, counties, and states are starting to feel the effects, and questions are starting to rise regarding who will keep the lights on, and will our oil and gas industry be able to continue if the shut down goes on much longer. As of today, the Department of Energy will continue business as usual, however the near future may result in layoffs and less monitoring of the energy grid. Thus causing a threat to the security and efficiency of the energy department, which is one of the most vital contributors to the common day practices of the United States.
Imagine routine outages just as winter approaches, leaving heat, water, and lights off for days at a time. For the unprepared, or the people in the lower income bracket, this could be life or death. Granted, this is a harsh prediction, and we hope our government will not let that happen, yet you can't help but wonder who will keep our lights on if the Shut Down does not come to an end soon?
State level commissions, and private companies are generally responsible for the electric grid in their areas. However, in the event of an emergency, the federal government is supposed to be served as a back up. The FERC is federally operated and oversees interstate electricity sales, oil pipelines, and monitors energy markets. It also works hand in hand with homeland security. With these offices down, we have to question the medium and long term stability of the electrical grid across the nation. Will our country be able to handle internal shut downs and external threats with the federal government nonoperational.
Another question in the back of everyone’s mind is, what about the oil and gas industry jobs at a lower level? Is work being threatened as a result of the government shut down? At this time, no one has seriously addressed what will happen if the government fails to regulate the approval for new oil and gas wells, and at this time, things are still continuing as if nothing has changed. As for what will come of our energy department? Only time will tell. In the meantime, we know that negotiations regarding extending the debt ceiling in order to make our government functional again are continuing with president Obama as we speak.
As for what will come of our energy department? Only time will tell...