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What we've done

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We’ve delivered for you throughout the pandemic

From the start of the pandemic, we’ve been committed to ensuring that we continue to provide excellent levels of service and reliable energy supplies to all. We know that our customers have been relying on us more than ever to ensure they have the power when they needed it, allowing hospitals and care homes to carry out their vital services, whilst allowing millions of people to adapt to working and schooling from home, whilst maintaining virtual contact with their loved ones. At the same time we’ve been going the extra mile to support our local communities during this difficult time. We quickly adapted our operations to ensure we followed Government guidelines at all times.

Our aim throughout was to keep any disruption to our customers to an absolute minimum, but in the background we’ve carried out a range of actions to ensure we can keep the electricity network running by operating in a Covid-secure way. Extra support has been given to staff with a range of new safety and hygiene protocols in place. We’ve also established a range of new support for customers and communities, including the introduction of our ‘In this together- Community Matters’ fund, boosting our education – ‘Power Discovery Zone’, and continuing Priority Services Register (PSR) efforts.
 


 

  • From the offset of the pandemic, we have worked around the clock to ensure that our service remains reliable at this very challenging time. We also immediately joined forces with agencies across our region to deliver essential services and infrastructure in the fight against Covid-19. We adapted all of our practices so that in the first instance we were able to:

    • Continue all essential works to keep power flowing.
    • Maintain 24/7 support for any unplanned power cuts- with contact centres and control rooms still fully operational, working remotely.
    • Respond to all essential works in the field where there was a safety or reliability concern.
    • Installation of new connections at several sites, including NHS properties in response to increased electrical capacity demands.
    • Rapid turn-around on works including an emergency connection which was completed in under 48 hours which normally would have taken up to 3 months.

    As guidelines changed and adapted through the year we also followed the advice of our wider industry, our regulator Ofgem, and trade unions- this meant we were able to expand our services to include:

    • Planned works near to or in properties whilst following strict planned procedures
    • Customer-driven works.
    • A phased resumption of our capital programme.
  • Our staff’s safety has always been a priority, and as such, changes were made to enable this work to continue. This has been a continuous process, these are just some of the ways in which we’ve taken action:

    • Additional PCs were built and our IT network expanded to allow for over 2,000 staff to work from home where possible.
    • Our fleet of vehicles was increased by 10% to keep our teams on the road while enabling better social distancing.
    • Significant PPE was sourced to ensure our staff were able to keep safe whilst keeping the power flowing.

    Additionally, all staff were given access to resources offering guidance on key areas to maintain physical and mental wellness for them and those around them and answer any questions they might have, examples of which include:

    • Social distancing at work (Hygiene advice, social distancing advice for travel, offices, sites etc.)
    • Face coverings and hand washing
    • Coronavirus symptoms at work (recognising the signs and reacting to the situation)
    • Mental Health and Returning to the Workspace (key steps to take and directions to in-house support such as mental health first aiders, CBT access, Occupational health teams and mental health charities).
    • Regularly updated staff FAQ’s relating to changing rules, regulations, support and a plethora of other resources or contacts to ensure their wellbeing.
  • Our customers and communities were an essential focus for our response to the pandemic. These are some of the things we did:

    • The C-19 business pledge - we joined over 300 organisations globally to mobilise the immediate response to the pandemic, with a focus on employees, customers, and community- (you can read more here – Include hyperlink).
    • We continued working 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.
    • We scaled up our existing customer support schemes, increasing the support we typically offer to over 50 organisations to offer befriending services, shopping and prescription delivery, and continued energy saving and tariff switching advice to those most affected by the crisis.
    • Continued support offered via our Priority Services Register (PSR),
      • Sharing this data to other key support agencies for those needing extra support during power cuts.
      • 4.3 million proactive contacts to customers living in vulnerable circumstances over the past five years
      • As a result, we have very accurate information about their needs, including consent from many to share data with other support agencies during emergencies.
      • At the start of the lockdown we wrote to every local authority, local resilience forum and utility provider in our region to offer to share this data where possible (in compliance with data protection regulations) to help them identify those most in need.
    • Our ‘In This Together – Community Matters Fund’
      • First established in April 2020, just two weeks into the first national lockdown
      • Launched to support community groups and organisations delivering urgent care and support to thousands of families across the region during these challenging times
      • £1 million funding for 871 local charities, community groups and councils, delivering support to over 565,000 people in vulnerable situations.
      • A diverse range of good causes have benefitted from the funding, including foodbanks, community centres and projects as well as established charities such as Age UK and the Salvation Army.

    To see more on the ‘In This Together – Community Matters Fund’, including case studies and a breakdown of the phases, click here.

  • In line with home schooling demands, we also boosted and further advertised our education hub, the Power Discovery Zone. The hub is extensive and aims to have as wide a reach as possible.

    The site includes:

    • Zones for both kids and teachers
    • Educational video series- surrounding all things electricity and safety
    • Work books- including fun facts, renewable energy, hidden dangers, energy journey etc.
    • Games- interactive and virtual reality games around hazards, planning towns and renewable energy
    • Resources for teachers to use relating to all traditional subjects
    • A team of mascots to engage the young audience.

     

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