During this time of national emergency, we have several commitments to our stakeholders. One is to provide reliable power to the communities we serve, which keeps our homes, civic organizations and medical response teams running. That means we will continue critical operations, including refueling and maintenance outages.
At the same time, we are increasing our efforts at plant sites to maintain a healthy population, including more frequent disinfecting of work surfaces, internal social distancing where possible and screening workers.
We'll continue working with local and federal officials to make sure we power our communities in a safe and secure manner.
Functioning critical infrastructure is imperative during the response to the COVID-19 emergency. Electric utilities are officially designated as critical infrastructure. That means our employees will be allowed to continue performing their essential duties during periods of community restriction, social distancing or closure orders.
We continue operating our plants safely, securely and reliably. The energy sector, including nuclear power, is categorized as critical infrastructure and is considered vital for our nation. Its continuity-of-operations under any circumstance, including a pandemic threat, is regarded as a national priority.
It's critically important to keep our operations up and running, serving our customers and communities while we all live through this crisis. That means focusing on the health and safety of all our colleagues. Therefore, we are taking preventive actions to protect our workforce, including:
- Educating employees of the proper good hygiene precautions to prevent the spread of respiratory illnesses.
- We are following official public health recommendations and lowering the density of people at our company locations by making temporary telecommuting work arrangements for those employees who are not required to be at a company facility or in the field to do their work. Just as our communities have made the difficult decisions to close schools and reduce large gatherings of people, we will do the same.
- All employees are encouraged to self-check for symptoms of COVID-19 or the flu, and if detected seek medical attention.
- We have suspended all nonessential domestic and international business travel by commercial airline and other forms of mass transit. We continue to monitor the situation closely and are working with public health officials to implement recommended public health measures as directed.
As an added precaution to protect our workforce, including our contracting partners, we have begun to expand our pilot no-touch temperature and general COVID-19 health screening process as people enter critical sites. All team members, including employees, contractors, vendors and visitors will be screened.
- Plants conducting refueling outages will be the first to participate.
- The screenings will be done expeditiously. Those conducting the checks will practice social distancing.
- Screenings are not intended to constitute medical care. They are not a substitute for an assessment by a physician. Anyone with symptoms of COVID-19 should consult a physician.
We are prepared for the continued safe operation of our power plants, and transmission and distribution systems.
- We’ve restricted access to essential workers only. This includes all personnel entering a facility.
- We’ve identified which employees must work on site, which can work from home, which must work in the field, etc.
- We are limiting access to areas where employees are required to work on site, such as control rooms and control centers.
- We are sanitizing and securing access to those areas in a conscious effort to maintain a healthy work environment for those key employees.
- While stressing the importance of good hygiene practices, we’ve increased sanitation efforts across our sites. Examples of measures being taken at various facilities include additional hand washing stations strategically placed, hand washing stations at drinking water bottle stations, and sanitations supplies in restrooms.
- We’ve implemented new procedures around any large gatherings to encourage social distancing. This includes limiting the number of people for meetings, providing additional locations for lunch and break, and either canceling or virtually hosting certain meetings; this is an on-going task to continue looking for ways to achieve effective social distancing.
- There are required self-quarantine procedures for employees traveling to certain areas.
Finally, per the CDC’s updated recommendation on wearing face masks or coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain, we reallocated the company's current inventory of face masks to all work locations where workers are still required to report on site, including plants, service centers and control centers.
- The intent of the potential change in recommendations regarding masks – or some form of nose and mouth covering – is to potentially lower the risk of the wearer, if infected, from transmitting the virus to other people.
- Wearing cloth face masks or other face coverings will only be effective in reducing the risk of spreading the virus when used in combination with washing hands and social distancing. Our workforce continues practicing social distancing and performing frequent hand washing. We continue to focus on the health and safety of our workforce as we continue to provide lifesaving power to our communities.