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April 2020

Electric Companies and COVID-19
Photo: Courtesy DTE Energy.
Electric Companies and COVID-19
Helping Our Customers and Communities

​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 and employees stay safe and healthy throughout the COVID-19 or coronavirus pandemic. They have activated their pandemic response plans and are focused on ensuring the safety of customers, communities, and crews. We are committed to powering through this crisis together.

The Electricity Subsector Coordinating Council 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, already in its seventh edition, will continue to evolve as more is learned about appropriate mitigation strategies.

On EEI’s website​, find examples of how EEI member companies in the United States and across the world are helping their customers and communities, the first responders and healthcare workers who are on the front lines, and their own employees who need extra support and resources during the COVID-19 crisis. 

For EEI member companies, the health and safety of our customers and communities is always paramount—especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Access to reliable electricity is a matter of health and safety. As announced on March 19, all EEI member companies have suspended electricity disconnects for non-payment. 

Electric companies continue to educate customers on the tactics used by scammers. Customers should be on the lookout for suspicious emails, phone calls, or persons impersonating business employees or charitable organizations. ​Learn more from Utilities United Against Scams​.

EEI's member companies are committed to #PoweringThruTogether​, and to playing a key role in the recovery from the pandemic for our customers and communities. ​Find examples of their commitments here.

Resilience and Response
Photo: Courtesy Eversource.
Resilience and Response
Electric Companies Respond to Easter Storms

​Earlier this month, tornadoes, severe thunderstorms, high winds, and heavy rain caused widespread power outages across many parts of the South, Southeast, Mid-Atlantic, and New England. EEI's member companies worked swiftly to restore power for customers in the wake of this severe weather, while maintaining safety protocols required by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic to keep customers and crews safe.

Electric companies know that being without electricity creates hardships during ordinary times—and now we are in the midst of an extraordinary pandemic that is creating extra challenges for customers and electric companies. As in every event impacting the delivery of electricity, the companies affected by the storms, and the crews assisting the restoration effort, worked around the clock to restore power safely and as efficiently as possible.

During and after the restoration, electric companies worked together through the Electricity Subsector Coordinating Council to share lessons learned about following COVID-19 protocols and using mutual assistance during an emergency to inform their response to future events.

Learn how power is restored​ after a storm. Be prepared for a power outage and know what you should have in an emergency kit.

Earth Day 2020
Earth Day 2020
EEI's Member Companies Are Leading on Clean Energy

​Even as they work to deliver the reliable, affordable electricity their customers need, EEI's member companies are leading a profound transformation of America’s energy. Our vision is to give our customers an energy future that is cleaner, smarter, stronger, and more secure than any they have known before. 

Fifty years ago, the first Earth Day was celebrated. While it was difficult to celebrate Earth Day this year knowing that families, homes, and businesses across the country are still being profoundly impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, it is important to recognize the work that EEI’s member companies are doing to achieve their vision for clean energy and a cleaner economy. 

"In our country's fight to defeat the coronavirus, the importance of coming together to solve big problems is clear," EEI President Tom Kuhn wrote in an op-ed on Energy Central​. "We see the heroic actions of those on the front lines working tirelessly to address immense challenges and to keep essential services up and running.... I am confident we will emerge more resilient. I also believe lessons from this pandemic can help us come together to address another great challenge we currently face—climate change."

Learn about EEI member companies' clean energy vision and how they are building the clean energy century in EEI Executive Vice President of Public Policy and External Affairs Brian Wolff's ​Electric Perspectives article. Find key facts about the clean energy transformation in our Earth Day infographic. Read Energy Talk In Depth​ for more.​​

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What We're Reading
What We're Reading
Strengthening the Energy Grid Is Critical to a Clean Energy Future

​"Delivering a clean energy future for all requires a resilient energy grid that is integrated, smart, secure, and affordable," Portland General Electric President and CEO Maria Pope writes in the latest issue of Electric Perspectives. "A resilient system is one that is proactively prepared to deal with outages, minimize their impacts, and restore service quickly.

"We’re investing in building a future grid that will seamlessly connect energy generated by customers, businesses, and large-scale generation facilities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Our resilient grid also builds in readiness to face challenges on almost any scale, from balancing demand in extreme weather to recovering quickly from natural disasters or cyber/physical threats."

Read more​.​​

In the News
In the News
EEI Responds to Federal Communications Commission's 6 GHz Rule

​A broad cross-section of critical infrastructure industries and public safety providers depends on the 6 gigahertz (GHz) band for essential and mission-critical communications.

On April 23, EEI Executive Vice President of the Business Operations Group and Regulatory Affairs Phil Moeller commented on the U.S. Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC’s) Final Report and Order for the 6 GHz band of the wireless spectrum.

"Numerous critical infrastructure industries and public safety providers that operate in the 6 GHz band have raised significant concerns​ with the FCC's plan to open up the band without automated frequency control (AFC) requirements for all unlicensed devices.

"While we support the goal of using spectrum more efficiently, today's decision by the FCC means there will be no field testing or AFC mechanism in place to protect incumbent users from interference by indoor low-power devices. 

"EEI's member companies remain committed to providing their customers with reliable and secure energy, and we will carefully monitor the band for interference to prevent any significant impacts to mission-critical communications systems. We also will continue to work with policymakers and other stakeholders to identify ways to mitigate the risk introduced by these unlicensed devices."

Read the statement​. Read a letter from stakeholders, including EEI, explaining their concerns with the FCC's plan.

What We're Watching
What We're Watching
Con Edison Is Shielding Our Health Care Heroes

​Con Edison is drawing on the expertise of its workers in a Bronx machine shop to manufacture 40,000 face shields for Westchester County health care workers who are treating coronavirus patients. Watch here​.

Find many more examples of EEI member companies who are helping their customers and communities power through the COVID-19 pandemic together on EEI's website.​

Media Coverage
Media Coverage
NBC New York: National Grid Powers On
In this special report from NBC New York​, learn about the vital role National Grid’s essential workers play in keeping the electricity flowing and powering through the COVID-19 crisis.
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Top Tips
Top Tips
Save Energy While Working From Home

​Across the country, many Americans are social distancing and are working at home to avoid contracting and/or spreading the coronavirus in their communities. At the same time, many schools are closed, and students are attending online classes from home.

Here are six tips to help you save energy and money on your electric bill if you are working or learning at home.

  1. Install light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs to replace regular incandescent light bulbs. LED bulbs use about 7 to 10 watts to create the same amount of light as a traditional 60-watt incandescent light bulb (or current 42-43 watt halogen incandescent light bulb). They also are about 33-50 percent more efficient than 13-15 watt compact fluorescent lights (CFLs).
  2. Use fans instead of air conditioners. Running two ceiling fans rather than a central whole-house air conditioner for a few hours a day can save hundreds of dollars in energy costs each year. Remember to turn fans off when you are not in the room.
  3. Eliminate “phantom loads.” Turn off devices you aren’t using if they consume standby power, such as some cell phone chargers and laptops and desktop computer monitors. Consider replacing standard power strips with an advanced or “smart” power strip to further reduce phantom loads automatically.
  4. Limit how often you open appliances such as refrigerators and ovens. If you limit opening the oven to check on food as you cook, you can save electricity, protect the appliance, protect your food, and speed up cooking times.  
  5. Adjust your dishwashing habits. Only run your dishwasher when you have a full load, because dishwashers use about the same energy and water regardless of the number of dishes inside. Before running the dishwasher, be sure to scrape off food, rather than using extra water to rinse dishes. Set an air-dry option for your dishwasher instead of heat-dry. Check the manual that came with your dishwasher for the manufacturer recommendation on water temperature: it may have an internal heating element that allows you to set the water heater in your home to a lower temperature.
  6. Use microwave ovens to cook when you can. Microwave ovens have no “warm up” time and cook more efficiently than full-size ovens. Also, microwave ovens work more efficiently when the inside surfaces are clean.
For more energy-saving tips, read EEI’s booklet, More Than 100 Ways to Improve Your Electric Bill​.


Focus on Conservation
Photo courtesy FirstEnergy.
Focus on Conservation
FirstEnergy Employees Emerge as Green Thumbs Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

A bright bloom among the weeds of the COVID-19 pandemic has been the growing number of FirstEnergy employees who have expressed interest in planting their own pollinator gardens. Nearly 150 employees in five states participated in a “gardening 101” webinar presented by the company’s corporate responsibility team and the Electric Power Research Institute on April 28. The virtual event fell on Gov. Mike Dewine’s Garden Day during Stay at Home Ohio’s Spirit Week initiative.

To promote corporate responsibility and support the company’s mission to make the environment better, FirstEnergy introduced a company-wide initiative in 2020 to create and maintain pollinator gardens across FirstEnergy locations in Maryland, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. 

That was before the current health emergency restrictions uprooted “business as usual.” With more than 7,000 employees now working from home, members of FirstEnergy’s Corporate Responsibility Task Force quickly developed a plan to host a virtual learning experience to keep employees engaged in the initiative, while also arming them with tips and tricks to start their gardens at home. 

“Planting pollinator gardens is a way for our employees to create habitats that support pollinating insects, which have been declining due to an increase in urbanization and fragmented landscapes,” said Rebecca Spach, director of vegetation management at FirstEnergy. “It is a way to unite employees from across our service territory, and from their homes, on an initiative that promotes corporate responsibility, environmental awareness, and fun.”

Using the information gathered from the webinar, employees will plant pollinator gardens at FirstEnergy locations once they return to the workplace. Once grown, nectar-rich plants such as sunflowers, lavenders, and coneflowers will attract pollinators like butterflies and bees. This year’s National Pollinator Week will be held June 22-28. 

Supporting pollinators is not new to FirstEnergy. As more areas across the United States are developed, the electric power industry is positioned to create habitats along transmission corridors that benefit a new generation of pollinators. Pollinators thrive in the open areas along transmission rights-of-way because they can find food, nectar, and cover to nest that is unavailable in the deep woods. 

With this in mind, FirstEnergy employs integrated vegetation management practices along approximately 24,500 miles of transmission lines to promote and protect pollinators. By replacing incompatible vegetation that could contact power lines with low-growing shrubs and wildflowers, the company is establishing habitats where pollinators can flourish—all while keeping the lights on for customers.

Find more information about FirstEnergy's environmental and corporate responsibility efforts in its report here​.

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