Guest Commentators: Ron Bradley, Vice President of Gas Operations, and Nicole LeVine, Vice President of Electric Operations, PECO @PECOconnect

How can energy companies and utilities do their part in ensuring critical infrastructure during the crisis?

At PECO, we recognize the role we play is foundational to how our region responds to the current pandemic challenges we are facing. We provide the critical infrastructure that powers our hospitals and health care facilities; our federal, state, and local response centers; and the millions of homes and businesses where people live and work.

That’s why we’re working to ensure that keeping the lights on and the gas flowing is the one thing our customers don’t have to worry about.

For years, we have prepared and maintained robust plans and contingencies to ensure our operations could continue when confronted with potentially disruptive events, including major public health crises. We’ve put those plans into action, and we have extensive measures in place to ensure our customers continue to have safe and reliable energy service during this uncertain time.

We were ready for many of the disruptions we are currently experiencing as a region, but some of the unique challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic have required improvisation, ingenuity, and innovation from our teams – from management, to those providing back-office support, and especially to our employees in the field on the front lines.

We’re tremendously proud of the way our teams have responded, and throughout PECO, we’ve kept our focus on three guiding principles:

  • Protecting the health and safety of our employees, contractors, and customers;
  • Helping our customers and community members address the economic challenges that they are experiencing as a result of the pandemic; and
  • Making sure we can complete the necessary work to ensure we continue to provide safe and reliable energy – now and into the future.

Nothing is more important to us than the safety and well-being of our employees, contractors, customers, and communities, which is particularly true at this difficult time. We’ve reorganized our operations to enable remote work for as many employees as possible and reconfigured workspaces, travel procedures, and business processes to prioritize employee and customer safety. Recognizing the unprecedented nature of this economic crisis, we voluntarily suspended service disconnections, waived new late payment charges, and reconnected customers who were previously disconnected. We’re also proud to have contributed more than $1 million to support local community organizations in this time of need.

As we head into the summer months, the temperature will begin to rise, and we’ll be faced with the threat of high heat and damaging storms. We know how impactful it is to be without power, especially during these times with so many people at home. To ensure we’re ready for storms, we’ve worked to ensure social distancing measures are in place to protect our employees and enable remote work capabilities. We’ve already experienced three severe weather events in our region since the pandemic began, and during that time we’ve seen innovative processes and efficiencies emerge to virtually support storm restoration activities and more quickly reconnect our customers who were without power.

Our field crews who cannot do their jobs from home will continue to provide essential services. As always, we will respond to any issues around the clock and will proactively complete the necessary infrastructure work that is essential to upgrading and hardening our system to ensure reliable service today, and into the future.

While we don’t know how long it will be until we return to business as usual, we’re prepared to keep working with our partners in business, government, labor, and charitable and community organizations to continue to make our future cleaner and brighter.

PECO is a member of the Chamber’s Greater Philadelphia Energy Action Team (GPEAT) which brings together 150+ industry leaders committed to delivering affordable energy solutions that will benefit the current families and businesses living and operating in Greater Philadelphia while attracting new development and growth opportunities.

Upcoming Event

[Virtual] The Energy Economy and the Impact of COVID-19
Friday, May 15, 2020 | 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. | Held via Zoom

Join us at this virtual program to hear from leaders at Moody’s Analytics, PECO, and PJM Interconnection, as they discuss the impact of the crisis on our regional energy economy, specifically the oil and natural gas sectors, and provide insight into potential relief and stimulus policies that may be on the way.