Last year, EPSA’s member companies— America’s competitive power suppliers—dedicated themselves to protecting the health and safety of their communities, employees and customers while ensuring that the power stayed on for Zoom meetings, remote school and working from home. Now, a little more than one year after U.S. lockdowns began, vaccinations ramping up and some regions of the country beginning to reopen. Meanwhile, electric generators – like many other industries – have learned new ways of operating and strengthened systems for the future.
Let’s take a step back to see how competitive power suppliers have helped power America through an unprecedented period, both through the electricity they provide and the important roles they play in their communities.
Ensuring Safe, Reliable Electricity
From the start of the pandemic, EPSA member companies made fulfilling their commitment to customers a top priority and adopted new procedures to ensure reliability. These policies ranged from small changes—increasing hygiene measures—to large-scale reorganizations of plant operations to allow for remote work and to maintain the safety of power plant operators and other essential personnel.
EPSA helped its members understand how the pandemic affected their operations and shared best practices developed by the federal government and the electric power sector. These procedures helped ensure that employees of member companies and their customers stayed healthy and the lights stayed on.
In addition, EPSA member companies provided assistance to customers struggling to make ends meet during the lockdowns, providing payment extensions and deferred payment plans as well as bill payment assistance through customer aid programs.
Giving Back to Their Communities
Across the country, EPSA members have stepped up to support their communities, donating time, money, and resources to community organizations dedicated to the care and feeding of our neighbors in need. These companies pledged more than $6 million in emergency aid funding last year and continue to find new ways to invest in the areas where they live and operate.
Here are some of the ways that EPSA member companies have helped their communities during the fight against COVID:
- LS Power donated Chromebooks to students at the Southern Will County Cooperative for Special Education after hearing about that students were unable to access their classes.
- NRG pledged $2 million to community-led relief funds for small businesses and supplies for first responders and educators. A reimagined corporate giving week supported 15 food banks across 8 states.
- In September, Vistra donated $230,000 to help provide laptops to low-income students during the 2020-2021 school year. The donation helped to provide nearly 2,000 refurbished laptops to students in Chicago, Dallas, and Fort Worth.
- Calpine donated $1.6 million to groups providing critical services to California communities and expanded a matching program for employee donations. This expansion helped many community groups including food banks serving Silicon Valley, Monterey and Alameda Counties, North Bay, and Yerba-Sutter.
- bp donated two ultra-low temperature freezers to Denver Health to help store COVID-19 vaccinations, which require extremely low storage temperatures.
- Shell donated more than $4.5 million to help communities across the U.S., made up of in-kind contributions of PPE, meals, fuel, and hand sanitizer to front-line responders, medical and educational institutions, and more than 132,000 gallons of isopropyl alcohol for the production of disinfectant wipes. The cash contributions included donations to community relief organizations, food banks, mental health services and, through a national employee match program, more than 175 local organizations across 24 states.
From hospitals to homes, EPSA member companies have provided the power Americans relied on during the pandemic. Without affordable, reliable electricity, many families would have found themselves unable to safely continue working, virtual schooling, or even staying connected to loved ones.
With the end of lockdowns appearing to be on the horizon, these same companies are dedicated to continuing to support their neighbors and communities by ensuring that homes, schools and businesses have the energy and support they need to thrive.