The NBA season and NCAA tournaments can go away due to coronavirus fears. We’ll get over it. The stock market can plummet and squeeze trillions of dollars out of commission. The world still goes on, if a little poorer and less entertained.
The electricity sector must keep on keeping on in the face of a pandemic, maybe even more so. Yet utilities are certainly not immune to both the physical and fiscal dangers of the COVID-19 virus.
A new bulletin from the Edison Electric Institute—which represents all of the U.S. investor-owned utilities—noted it’s possible some 40 percent of employees—of any business—could end up being sick, quarantined or might have to stay home to care for sick family members.
This is the same for vendors and suppliers integral to power generation operations, the EEI pointed out. Its bulletin offers both caution and advice on how to handle the era of coronavirus in the short term.
A key theme is staying informed about the alert phase and sweep of the infections. What is happening and where?
Many utilities are already banning non-essential or even all business travel. Power generators need certain power plant personnel in house at all times, as well as call center and line people to handle systemic problems outside of the plant. But the utility can have to make certain concessions to circumstances and adapt.
Clear responsibilities in a crisis include communication, training refreshers (if needed) and an understanding of mission-critical tasks required no matter the outside situation. The EEI bulletin can be found here.