A message from Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks Managing Director, Colin Nicol:
As the coronavirus pandemic continues to have an impact on all aspects of life, we know you and your communities are relying on us, now more than ever, to keep the power flowing to your homes and businesses.
At SSEN we’re working hard to ensure this commitment is fully met and we’re playing our part in society’s response to the crisis.
Our frontline operational teams, designated as critical workers, continue to work tirelessly to support the safe and reliable supply of electricity at local, regional and national level, helping to provide the power on which the coronavirus response depends.
Our core support teams, working from home where possible, are providing 24/7 service and support to our customers, especially the most vulnerable, making best use of our stakeholder network to look at ways we can lend a helping hand in the communities we serve.
Together, we have made a great deal of progress, including:
- Prioritisation of operational activities to focus on critical work that ensures a safe, reliable and resilient supply of electricity to our customers.
- Postponement of all non-emergency work that requires access to customer homes.
- Acceleration of connection works and associated network studies to support the NHS and healthcare response, such as temporary hospitals and research centres.
- Introduction of dedicated support for our customers in vulnerable situations, including outbound calling those identified as most at risk on our priority register, signposting local support services.
- Prioritisation of hospitals, health centres and care homes, including the introduction of a dedicated phone line and exploring options for further cross-industry collaboration to support this critical group.
- Temporary expansion of our Priority Services Register criteria to include those at increased risk who have been instructed to self-isolate for a 12-week period based on public health guidance.
We know, however, there will be more to do and we continue to work closely with Government, Ofgem, our union partners and other network operators to adapt to any changes to guidance and adopt best practice to protect and support our customers, colleagues and communities.
Although we have reduced our operational activity, you will still see our teams and key contract partners working in your street or in your area. As critical workers, designated by government, they will be undertaking critical work on the electricity network and will be following strict guidance and procedures, including social distancing rules, wherever operationally possible.
We also remain focused on workforce resilience. Despite what you may have read in recent media headlines, our networks are operating as normal during the pandemic and our well-practiced business continuity plans are in place and working well. This includes segmentation of key teams across multiple locations and the introduction of reserve crews. I’d like to reassure you the UK has one the most reliable networks in the world and, as an industry, we are working together to keep the power flowing.
Supporting the community response
Our principal duty will always be to provide a safe and reliable supply of electricity, but we also recognise, as a responsible business, we have an additional duty to support the community response during this unprecedented crisis. This includes:
- Signing up to the C-19 Business Pledge, joining the business community to support the UK through the coronavirus pandemic and the recovery efforts.
- Providing key support to local initiatives through our network of customer and community teams and extending existing partnerships with Citizens Advice Scotland and Citizens Advice Hampshire to include additional financial support for delivering crucial energy advice services remotely.
- Release of a £350,000 Resilient Communities Fund, offering grants of up to £3,000 for local projects that support the community response to the coronavirus pandemic and protect the vulnerable.
I’d encourage you to share the details of our coronavirus resilience fund with your own network before the closing date of 30 April and to please get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like more details of the support we can provide in your area.
A thank you to our customers and teams
We know these are uncertain times and I’d like to thank all our customers for their patience and support and express my gratitude to our front-line teams. I couldn’t be prouder of my colleagues who are out in the field and in our sites and depots and would like to thank them for the hard work and dedication they continue to show and the unfailing support they are providing our customers.
As the impact of the virus continues to be felt, we recognise that the resilience of electricity supplies is unlikely to the be at forefront of most people’s minds. It’s our job to make sure that it never has to be, as we continue to keep your power flowing, safely and reliably, helping our nation respond to this significant challenge.
Thank you and stay safe,
Managing Director, SSEN
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