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Working together

Joining the fight against Covid-19

We’ve joined forces with agencies across our region to deliver essential services and infrastructure in the fight against Covid-19.

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.

At the same time, WPD was also able to help other key support agencies by sharing the data it has collected on its Priority Services Register (PSR) for those in need of extra support during power cuts. Over the past five years WPD has carried out 4.3 million proactive contacts to customers living in vulnerable circumstances. 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 therefore 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 teams are proud to be part of the UK effort to combat coronavirus.

Industry-wide efforts

Energy Networks Association (ENA) is the voice of the networks, representing the ‘wires and pipes’ transmission and distribution networks operators for gas and electricity in the UK and Ireland. The ENA has collectively ensured a safe and a reliable continuation of this vital service throughout this pandemic.

As governments across the UK and Ireland manage regional lockdowns, ease restrictions with more people returning to the workplace, and consider the possibility of a resurgence of COVID-19, Energy Networks Association and Energy UK members have reaffirmed their commitments to protect those most in need, keep colleagues and customers safe and their energy flowing.

From the outset of the pandemic, companies across the energy industry have implemented safe working practices in consultation with colleagues, contractors, and trades unions. As the governments’ responses to the coronavirus pandemic develops, companies and unions are continuing to keep their approach under careful watch and carry out regular reviews of their practices to make sure they operate as safely as possible.

Energy companies will always take an approach which safeguards the health and well-being of their customers and colleagues, while maintaining a safe and reliable supply of energy.

As lockdown restrictions ease in many parts of the country, companies and unions are mindful of the possibility of more local lockdowns and a resurgence that will require continued vigilance. They continue to take appropriate safety measures, including:

  • Revising and implementing procedures based on our joint learning from experience gained since the start of the pandemic
  • Continuing to ensure any new or revised procedures provide customers with  the best possible service
  • Working with the National HESAC and across the whole energy industry to pre-empt and prepare for any potential spikes in infections to ensure that colleagues and the public have confidence that the essential services they rely on will continue to be provided safely
  • Reviewing existing COVID-19 risk assessments with trades union health and safety representatives. Any changes to the assessments will be shared with energy industry and contractors, demonstrating transparency and ensuring they are easily accessible.

David Smith, Chief Executive of Energy Networks Association, which represents the UK and Ireland’s energy networks businesses, said:

“The energy networks continue to put colleagues and customers at the heart of their COVID-19 response. We are constantly reviewing our plans to make sure we continue to provide the best possible service, especially to those who need extra help. We will carry on working with our colleagues and trades unions to keep people safe, protect those most in need and keep your energy flowing.”

Sue Ferns, Senior Deputy General Secretary of Prospect said:

“By working together and focusing on detailed changes to make work COVID-secure, the companies and unions have ensured that we have maintained high safety standards and service to customers. Trade union safety representatives have played a key role and their work will be even more vital during the challenging times ahead."

The C-19 Business Pledge

WPD joined 300 organisations globally in the C-19 Business Pledge, covering over 2.5 million employees and over 500,000 students (3 million people). Founded by former UK Cabinet Minister, Rt Hon. Justine Greening, and UK entrepreneur David Harrison, the pledge aimed to mobilise the immediate response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This collective effort has enabled global support to employees, customers and communities.

For more information on the C-19 Business Pledge click here: https://www.c19businesspledge.org/casestudies/case-study-western-power-distribution

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