We are all living, and working, in challenging times.
However, one thing remains unchanged during the coronavirus crisis. At WPD, we continue to work 24/7 to keep the power flowing to 8 million customers across our region, ensuring vital energy reaches hospitals, factories, supermarkets and other essential services.
We understand that a safe and reliable energy supply to homes is more important than ever too. The network is helping to power home offices and home schooling, as well as to charge the devices that keep us all connected to our loved ones and the world outside.
Like everyone, we’ve had to change the way we work in response to the outbreak. But, as always, our top priority remains the safety of our colleagues and the communities we serve. That’s why any work we carry out will follow the latest government guidelines on safety and social distancing.
We’re also doing what we can to support our communities and most vulnerable customers during the pandemic. This includes our £500k ‘In This Together – Community Matters’ fund to support the delivery of services to the most vulnerable in our communities during this difficult time, ranging from vital home delivery supplies to child education initiatives to befriending services.
We have also scaled up our existing schemes that, during business as usual, support customers impacted by fuel poverty and living in cold homes, as well as increased our proactive contact with customers on our Priority Services Register.
So, while life may be a little different at the moment, our aim remains the same: to deliver the energy and support needed to our homes, communities and vital services to get us all through these difficult times.
We won’t let you down.
Resources and External Affairs Director
‘In This Together – Community Matters’ fund
Our ‘In This Together – Community Matters’ fund was launched to support those hit hardest by the coronavirus outbreak. The £500k fund is helping local organisations to deliver support and services to the most vulnerable in our communities. In the first week alone, we’ve helped community groups to deliver vital support to more than 130,000 vulnerable people in our region. That number will increase substantially over the coming weeks as further awards are made.
To date, this has included a donation to the Selston Covid-19 volunteers towards food and ingredients for cooked meals for NHS sta and vulnerable people in Nottinghamshire; funding for University Hospitals, Birmingham to buy insulated mugs and snacks for NHS frontline staff and iPads to enable coronavirus su erers on 120 wards to keep in touch with loved ones while in hospital.
We’ll also be supporting Moorvision, a charity in the South West, which helps develop online educational resources for blind and partially sighted children, along with Age Connects Cardi and The Vale to help fund food and prescription deliveries and keep in telephone contact with elderly people in isolation.
We’re also providing additional support to the 1.9 million customers on our Priority Services Register (PSR), many of whom may find a power cut difficult or are medically dependent on electricity.
During the crisis, we’re working closely with local community partners to help PSR customers most in need to access services such as food and prescription deliveries, telephone calls to combat loneliness and advice on energy savings.
A new iPad app is making it easier for our field staff to refer those who may be struggling or in isolation due to coronavirus.
We’ve also emailed more than 330,000 PSR customers to tell them about the help and resources we can offer during the coronavirus outbreak. A special coronavirus information portal for PSR customers has been created on our website which includes everything from energy saving
tips to home schooling resources and regularly-updated FAQs.
Many more customers have been signposted to the portal by text message.
During normal operating conditions, we work with a wide network of community-based agencies to support those struggling to afford their energy bills.
In the last 12 months, we’ve helped more than 18,000 customers directly save a total of over £10.5 million.
In light of coronavirus, our work to alleviate fuel poverty has also been stepped up to help households manage the financial impact of the pandemic, largely as a result of increased utility and grocery bills.
Alongside our community partners, we’re helping those who have been most affected by the crisis to access support and advice, including help with online shopping slots, food bank referrals and advice on energy payment schemes
This includes the rapid installation of new connections at several sites, including NHS properties, in response to demands for increased electrical capacity.
Our teams pulled out all the stops to complete one emergency connection in less than 48 hours – a job that would normally take up to three months from start to finish.
We’ve also been doing a lot of work behind the scenes to ensure the resilience of electricity supplies at new and existing hospital locations, as well as to safeguard other essential services such as care homes, factories and other utilities.
Our teams are proud to be part of the UK effort to combat coronavirus.
We’re supporting learning and helping families to educate from home during Covid-19.
Our educational website, Power Discovery Zone, features interactive games as well as a wide range of information to help children understand the dangers of electricity.
New resources include a brand new interactive Renewable Energy Quiz and feature our electricity superhero, Pylonman, who has swapped his usual classroom visits for the internet, to engage and inform children on everything to do with electricity.
Youngsters will also be able to find out how they can reduce the energy they use by checking in with Ecobot, our energy saving mascot!
Find out more at: www.powerdiscoveryzone.com
Thank you to all the customers who’ve got in touch to share their appreciation for the work we’ve been doing since the outbreak.