By Vanessa Edmonds
Shimming up a utility pole and running a sewage treatment plant are difficult and important jobs, but the folks who work in the utility industry ecosystem don’t always get a lot of love. Just as the sun rises and sets, we expect consistent delivery of electricity, clean water, and sewage services at a fair price, and only notice our utility company when our personal sun fails to shine.
Under the dark cloud of Covid-19, managing the utility business is more difficult than ever. Statistics are showing that anyone of any age can catch the virus. And yet utility companies aren’t boarding up their windows and leaving us without the services that we, as citizens, consider essential.
Since the beginning, empathetic and confident communications from C-level executives are demonstrating their commitment to those they serve. They are acting with agility and creativity to evolve business practices on the fly—something that is extremely difficult to do. And they aren’t alone. Vendors are redirecting their employees from sales-based conversations towards empathetic outreach. They are having internal, heartfelt conversations about how to get useful information in front of their utility customers who need it to make critical decisions.
Commissioners are also stepping up. In one example, Charlotte Lane, Chairwoman of the West Virginia Public Service Commission, sent a note to all public utilities in the state urging them to suspend service terminations, starting immediately.
Yes, Covid-19 has cast a dark cloud on the world, but the utility industry is providing the light to help us see our way to the other side. Like all essential front-line workers staying the course through this pandemic, they deserve our appreciation and respect.
Thank you. Be safe. We appreciate all that you do.
To hear the latest from utilities managing the Covid-19 situation:
Register for the webinar, “Managing the Utility Business in a Covid-19 World” and join the discussion on Energy Central Analyst, Matt Chester’s landing page with links to useful content posted by others in the utility industry ecosystem.