EEI Energy Talk  

Top Story
Top Story
Electric Companies Help Customers and Communities Throughout COVID-19 Pandemic

​Across the country, EEI's member companies—America's investor-owned electric companies—are working around the clock to keep the lights on and to help their customers stay safe and healthy. 

Read on to learn how electric companies are putting their pandemic response plans into action and how the industry is focused on ensuring we all have a safe and reliable supply of the electricity we need to power our homes and to keep us connected. And, find examples of how EEI's member companies are making a difference for their customers and communities on EEI's resource page​.

We are committed to powering through this crisis together.

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Key Facts
Key Facts
Four Facts to Know About Electric Companies and COVID-19
  1. As we do throughout other emergencies, EEI is coordinating across the industry with our member companies and with government partners to ensure unity of effort and unity of message—as well as unity of guidance. 
  2. The CEO-led Electricity Subsector Coordinating Council is highly engaged, holding regular calls to facilitate critical information sharing and issue spotting across the sector and among government partners. 
  3. Now, as always, ensuring access to reliable electricity is essential to the health and safety of all of our customers. To help reduce the impact of the crisis on the most vulnerable, EEI members have suspended electricity disconnects for non-payment (find more below).
  4. EEI and the ESCC have developed a number of resources to assist member companies in their pandemic planning and response (see below).

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Happening Now
Happening Now
Responding to COVID-19

​In every emergency, the electric power industry works together—across the sector, with other sectors, and with government partners—to coordinate its activities and to ensure unity of effort and unity of message. 

The electric power industry has been planning for years for an emergency like the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as countless other types of emergencies, and the industry is coordinating closely with government partners through the Electricity Subsector Coordinating Council (ESCC) to ensure that investor-owned electric companies, public power utilities, and electric cooperatives all have the resources they need to keep the lights on. 

The ESCC quickly mobilized and established strategic working groups dedicated to identifying and solving for short-, medium-, and long-term issues facing the industry during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The ESCC has developed a COVID-19 Resource Guide designed to support electric power industry leaders in making informed localized decisions in response to this evolving health crisis. The guide will evolve as more is learned about appropriate mitigation strategies.

“Electricity and the energy grid are indispensable to our society, and one of our greatest strengths as an industry is our ability to convene and adapt quickly to changing circumstances and challenging events,” said EEI President Tom Kuhn. “Our industry plans for all types of contingencies, and strong industry-government coordination and cross-sector collaboration are critical to our planning and response. We appreciate the ongoing leadership and support of our governm​ent partners as we all respond to COVID-19 and power through this crisis together.”

Read the ESCC’s press release.


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Ensuring Reliability
Ensuring Reliability
Testing and Protecting Mission-Essential Control Center and Generation Facility Personnel Is Fundamental

A subset of highly skilled energy workers is unable to work remotely and is mission-essential during this extraordinary time. While we understand the current limitations of COVID-19 testing, there is a critical need for a targeted approach—endorsed by federal, state, and local partners—that ensures testing of these workers.

Keeping a limited pool of highly skilled workers available to operate control centers and generation facilities is a top priority. Access to testing will help isolate healthy operators so they can remain available. Based on an analysis by the electricity subsector, the nuclear sector, and the natural gas distribution segment of the oil and natural gas subsector, the mission-essential portion of the energy workforce that needs priority COVID-19 testing should be identified based on factors that include, but are not limited to:

  • ​workers’ functional connections to maintaining reliability;
  • the amount of lead time required to train these personnel;
  • the limited pool of people with these qualifications;
  • the risks to regional reliability if this workforce is severely impacted.
Learn more in the ESCC's resource guide to mission-essential workers​. The Department of Homeland Security's Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency also has established broader guidance regarding critical infrastructure employees.

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In the News
In the News
EEI Member Companies Suspend Electricity Disconnects

EEI and our member companies know that ensuring access to reliable electricity is essential to the health and safety of the customers and communities we are so proud to serve. 

As the COVID-19 pandemic impacts communities across the country, the crisis will create significant financial hardships for many Americans. Since the crisis began, EEI’s member companies have been working with their state public service commissions to address the issue of service disconnections for non-payment to help reduce the impact of the crisis on our most vulnerable customers. ​

“We know that now, as always, ensuring access to reliable electricity is essential to the health and safety of all our customers,” said EEI President Tom Kuhn. “To help reduce the impact of the crisis on the most vulnerable, EEI members are committed to working collectively with our state public utility commissions to appropriately suspend power shut-offs for non-payment.”

“EEI’s member companies are committed to helping support the communities where we live, work, and serve,” said EEI Chairman Chris Crane, CEO and president of Exelon Corporation. “As providers of critical resources and infrastructure, our industry recognizes our indispensable role in responding to this crisis for as long it takes our communities to recover. We will continue to help customers who may be experiencing health or economic challenges, and this commitment by EEI’s membership ensures that our customers will maintain access to reliable energy during this public health emergency.”

Read comments from policymakers and other key stakeholders supporting EEI member companies’ suspension of disconnects in our press release.​


News From the Hill
News From the Hill
CARES Act Includes Additional LIHEAP Funding

​Millions of American families struggle to afford basic necessities, and the COVID-19 pandemic is making these struggles worse for millions more. The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) is an essential, widely supported source of aid, helping them pay their energy bills and avoid having to choose between energy and other essentials, such as food or medicine. Access to affordable energy is a matter of health and safety.

Each year, electric companies contribute millions of dollars to energy assistance programs for vulnerable customers and provide access to home weatherization programs, but the need for LIHEAP remains critical nationwide and is growing. 

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act​, approved by Congress and signed into law by President Trump on March 27, provides $900 million in supplemental LIHEAP funding that will be used to help meet vulnerable families' need for energy during the COVID-19 crisis.


Be On the Lookout
Be On the Lookout
#StopScams

​Many electric company customers throughout the country are being targeted by impostor utility scams. Unfortunately, scammers take advantage of opportunities such as holidays, natural disasters, and other disruptive scenarios when households are otherwise preoccupied. Customers should be on the lookout for suspicious emails, phone calls, or persons impersonating business employees or charitable organizations.

For more information about how customers can protect themselves from common scams, visit Utilities United Against Scams​.


Stay Safe
Stay Safe
Practice Good Cyber Hygiene

​With more people working from home, protecting yourself and your network is critically important for all. Please remember to practice good cyber hygiene by following these steps:

  • Use caution when opening emails and attachments from external senders.
  • Be wary of unsolicited communications and potential phishing scams.
  • Share conference call or meeting links only with registered participants.
  • Use your connected devices only on secure networks.
  • Use mutli-factor authentication when prompted.
  • Do not use unknown USBs or other external data storage devices.
  • Be cautious of permission settings on apps and other external platforms.

Leading the News
Leading the News
Media Coverage of Electric Companies' Efforts Throughout the Pandemic
As in every emergency, electric companies are coming together to serve their customers and communities by keeping the lights on, and​ are doing so in ways that protect life, health, and safety. EEI's pandemic resource page contains links to the latest media coverage of the electric power industry's efforts throughout the COVID-19 crisis. Following are just a few examples:
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On Twitter
On Twitter
#PoweringThruTogether

​EEI and our member companies are sharing many vital messages with customers and communities via social media. Find more examples on our COVID-19 resource page, and follow EEI on Twitter and Facebook for the latest updates.

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