Our world runs on power.
That reality has never been more evident — or starkly presented — than in the last three months, as the COVID-19 pandemic sweeps across the world and forces billions of people indoors.
From the Via Del Corso in Rome to Bourbon Street in New Orleans, public spaces that once bustled with activity are now empty as we try to slow the virus’ spread.
We binge-watch our favorite TV shows. We browse the internet for updates — or a moment’s distraction. We work from home and check in with friends and loved ones.
All of these activities rely on a steady flow of power. And the field service teams responsible for keeping our society moving forward.
Keeping the lights on during a pandemic
Unlike most industries, utility companies don’t have the option of shutting down and waiting out the worst of the pandemic.
Utilities are one of the 16 industries labeled as “critical infrastructure” by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. As people stock up and hunker down, utility companies are working around the clock to deploy contingency plans and maintain service.
Unfortunately, the industry is not immune to the effects of the virus — or the potential for workforce disruptions and shortages.
According to a recent report by the Edison Electric Institute, up to 40 percent of utility employees could be out sick, quarantined, or at home caring for sick family members as the pandemic spreads.