Electricity is more important than ever as more people telecommute from home, conduct meetings online and otherwise rely on data and electricity to get the job done.
As hospitals fill, public places empty, markets contract and in-person events are canceled or rescheduled due to COVID-19, also known as the novel coronavirus, electric utilities still must keep the lights on. In fact, electricity is more important than ever before as more people telecommute from home, conduct meetings online and otherwise rely on data and electricity to get the job done.
David Roop, a recent retiree from Dominion Energy and a 43-year veteran of electric transmission operations, said utilities’ pandemic plans are designed to maintain a healthy workforce and ensure they are not endangering the health of their workers’ families.
“Initially, they require good hygiene when entering a facility and then as the threat worsens, they restrict travel – domestic and international. During this phase most will reduce the number allowed into a meeting and again request no physical contact. As it continues, they will restrict outside guest into their facilities or if outside guests are allowed they will be prescreened over where they have been over the last several weeks, their present health condition, etc.,” Roop wrote in an email to T&D World.
Eventually, Roop said, as has been the case in Virginia and several other states, when an emergency is announced, they will move to close offices and have personnel work and respond from home wherever possible. This is the “social distancing” that the Centers for Disease control recommended to curtail the spread of coronavirus-related illness, which spreads through infected droplets and close human contact.
“There are some areas in our operations that we must have personnel stay, such as our operating centers. These Centers will minimize the number that stay to a core and make provisions to have them stay at these facilities (shelter-in-place) for an extended period – if need arises. Others will be sent home and work from home so, if needed, another shift could come in to relieve the shelter-in-place shift,” Roop wrote.