Preparing to Keep the Lights on in an Emergency
COVID-19 is creating significant disruptions across the world. It’s now not a matter of if, but rather when, more disruptions can be expected in the United States. While this crisis will pass, businesses need to act quickly to protect their operations, service clients, and complete tasks in the interim.
Every industry in the United States is dependent upon electricity for their operations. For this reason, many power companies have initiated contingency plans to keep the lights on and the gas flowing. This follows requests from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for businesses and local governments to implement policies intended to protect critical infrastructure and operations during a national emergency.
While these steps vary from company to company, they include the following:
- Sequestering a core group of healthy employees with the skills and knowledge required to keep critical systems functioning.
- Creating temporary shelters within facilities that are stocked with food, water, and beds. In the event that things worsen, these temporary shelters will provide living space for these critical employees so they may remain within the power plant.
- When possible, utilizing a secure control facility that can be kept isolated from as much contact with employees as possible.
- Reducing the workforce to minimum safe staffing levels to reduce potential contact and disease transmission and/or allowing workers to work remotely.
DHS is working closely with utility companies in order to ensure the lights don’t flicker and fail. While most utility providers have raised their threat preparedness level to “moderate,” their emergency management teams are currently re-examining their emergency action plans to ensure they will perform effectively should the situation worsen.
Is it likely that there will be power shortages in the United States? No, it is not. In fact, in Italy, the demand for electricity has plummeted as the COVID-19 crisis has spread. However, there is a possibility for power disruptions as a decreased number of crews struggle to locate and repair damaged infrastructure. Right now, the biggest threat to the power supply in the US isn’t the virus; it’s the number of people who could become sidelined by the illness and thus unable to perform their jobs.
The bottom line is that your business should be dusting off your emergency action plans and examining them for deficiencies. You should also be preparing your business for the possibility of mandatory quarantines similar to those implemented in Europe and Asia. California, New York, and other states have already initiated quarantines. With thousands of Americans currently infected with COVID-19, quarantines can be expected in the near future.
The team at Gen-Tech Power Generation Specialists can be reached at (800) 625-8324. We invite you to contact us to schedule service for your generator sets or rental needs and to discuss the steps we recommend taking to prepare your business as this national emergency evolves.