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Our response to the coronavirus outbreak - keeping our customers, colleagues and communities safe

03/06/2020

We know things are challenging right now, and that life is very different for everyone. But we're here keeping the power flowing to keep you connected to family, friends and work. 

Here's a short video on our response to the current crisis:

Open letter from Frank Mitchell, CEO of SP Energy Networks

Life has been very different recently, with new challenges and many changes in an effort to contain the COVID-19 outbreak.

As the operator of critical national infrastructure, our priority throughout has been to keep the power flowing to our 3.5million customers; in turn keeping us connected to family, friends and work. I’m proud of our entire workforce for rising to the challenge, doing everything they can, and often going above and beyond to achieve that. We’ve been able to pay particular attention to new connections for hospitals, nursing homes, water treatment works and food supply chain businesses to support the containment of the pandemic. We’ve also worked closely with other network operators, Government and the industry regulator Ofgem, to adjust all of our operations so we can continue to work safely and maintain network resilience throughout the crisis.

While things may be starting to ease ever so slightly, we’re still focused on our COVID response and helping the country get back on its feet. We’re still following government guidance on social distancing, PPE and hygiene, looking at ways we can support our most vulnerable customers, and keeping the power flowing to other critical service providers. That’s why, if you see our engineers out and about, you can rest assured it’s because they are completing critical work.

That’s also why, alongside our ScottishPower Group of companies, I was delighted to sign up to the C-19 Business Pledge – highlighting our commitment and efforts to help customers, colleagues and communities through the COVID-19 crisis and into the recovery phase.

The pledge – founded by former UK Cabinet Minister, Rt Hon. Justine Greening and the UK entrepreneur David Harrison – encourages employers to pledge to help employees, customers and communities across Britain to get through the crisis. Crucially, businesses are asked to focus on how they will tackle the challenges of recovery as well as the challenges of keeping going through Coronavirus.

Looking to the future, it’s vital that no community is left behind. As businesses across the entire country begin to rebuild our economy, we are ready to support future construction and regeneration and accelerate the move towards a green future.

And if the pandemic has reinforced anything for us, it’s that the journey to net zero has never been more important. The environmental and economic benefits of building a sustainable future and decarbonising various industries, products and services are huge. We’re at the heart of being able to deliver that green recovery for the UK, which will act as a stimulus for economic growth across a variety of sectors by helping to create jobs and attract investment.

I’m proud that alongside our response to the pandemic, we’ve still been able to focus on so much more in the background across our business. From moving forward with our transition to a Distribution System Operator, looking at smarter and more agile ways to manage our network, driving forward innovation and supporting SMEs and the UK economy in the process, we’re forging ahead to develop the network of the future.

My teams and I will share more with you on those preparations in the coming months, but for now I know you’re relying on us more than ever to keep you safe and warm by making sure the power continues to flow, and we’re committed to doing just that.

Stay safe.

Frank


Now, more than ever, our services are crucial to the lives of millions of families, businesses and communities across our network areas up and down the country. As the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation develops, we’ve implemented our business continuity plans and have a dedicated team constantly monitoring and responding. We’ll be continuing to keep you updated and providing key safety advice throughout.

coronavirus reliable networks image

The health and safety of our customers and colleagues is our key priority

As a critical operational business, we have moved at pace and taken steps to segregate our frontline operational and control centre teams. This includes changing shift patterns and splitting the physical location they work in to ensure we can maintain operations in the event of a localised outbreak.

Workforce resilience will continue to be a key priority for us in the weeks and months ahead. Where our actions matter most (like protecting our control rooms, contact centres, engineering colleagues and other business critical employees), we’ve rolled out additional measures like changes to shift patterns and taken steps to train and secure additional resource, both from internal teams and through our links with key contractors.

We have also undertaken intensive deep cleaning, restricting movement in our buildings, restricting non-essential business travel, working from home practices where possible, and additional advice to our staff on keeping themselves safe and well.

We’ve moved quickly to protect our staff and those we interact with, and have implemented measures and protocols to keep everyone safe.

Customer Safety

We would ask our customers to help us respond by letting us know if anyone at the property is self-isolating when they need our support. Our call centres have updated our call scripts to ask for this information in advance if we’re arranging a visit over the phone. We have also provided our front-line field staff with extra PPE supplies to protect themselves and those they come into contact with.

Looking after our vulnerable customers

Vulnerable Customers

As always, we are committed to delivering a first class experience for our customers, and recognise that now more than ever it is critical we look after our most vulnerable. For those who may need a little extra help, we understand that this could be a concerning time and we remain committed to keeping in contact with our customers on our Priority Services Register. You can find out more and sign up to our register (it’s free!) here or alternatively, text PSR to 61999.

Notice for SP Energy Networks customers registered on the Priority Services Register:

In a national emergency, such as the Covid-19 pandemic, sharing information between organisations can make a real difference to protecting vulnerable individuals. Therefore, during the Covid-19 pandemic, we will be sharing data held on the PSR with similar organisations in the event of an emergency, for example; water companies, gas companies and Emergency Planning Officers (EPO’s) etc. 

We’ve already started to respond

With services of an electricity network operator being so vital, it’s so important we’re prepared for any eventuality.

We want to reassure our customers, stakeholders and those we work with that we have implemented our robust, well-practiced contingency plans to make sure our resilient network continues to deliver services as the COVID-19 pandemic develops.

We’re taken action and our dedicated team are in place to continually monitor the situation as it develops. We’re committed to ensuring a safe, secure and resilient power supply during this crucial time as we all navigate through this pandemic together.

We recognise that, following nationwide social distancing measures, many more people will now be at home, including the elderly and those following guidance. So now, more than ever, we must ensure you continue to receive the most resilient supply we can provide. It is also still the season where stormy weather is most likely to hit, so we are reviewing and reprioritising our essential planned work to maintain and strengthen the resilience of the network we all rely on to take us through this season and beyond.

We’re working hard to ensure we identify any impacts to customers in advance and put mitigations in place to help minimise any disruption to supply which may be experienced. We are also looking at additional measures, including timing and duration, to reduce customer impact for planned interruptions that are for emergency, essential connections or network resilience.

Working with partners from across the industry

With our partners from the other UK electricity networks and other government bodies, we’ve been working to share best practice and strengthen our collective response. You can find out more information on what the energy networks across the UK are doing to respond to the situation on the Energy Networks Association’s website.

We have well-tested contingency plans in place to make sure network companies continue to deliver services to communities we serve across the UK, and this includes industry-wide mutual aid arrangements for people and equipment that might be needed to keep electricity flowing.

We remain in constant contact with government and industry bodies to report on and plan for any possible impacts to our networks that we need to be aware of.

Getting in touch with us

As always, if you have a power cut you can call us 24/7 on 105 no matter who you pay your bill to.

You can also find out more on other ways to get in touch with us here and we’ll continue to monitor the situation and provide regular updates here and on our social media channels.

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