Of all the things in short supply during the COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak, electric power isn’t among them. And fortunately, it isn’t likely to happen.
At the same time, US utility operators are observing government guidelines to control the spread of the disease by encouraging (or requiring) employees who can to work from home, adding extra sanitation procedures in workplaces, restricting business travel other than in vehicles, and avoiding group meetings. Many government utility agencies are also postponing regulatory hearings.
Emergency and Maintenance Services
Unless significant numbers of employees become ill or unable to work due to quarantine or assisting family members, emergency services for things like downed power lines and other service interruptions should continue to be addressed as usual.
US utility executives say the sector is well prepared, having dealt with and learned from earlier epidemic scares like SARS, MERS, and Ebola and, of course, 9/11. Contingency plans were developed then and remain in place today.
As businesses and industries cut back or shut down altogether, overall demand for electric power decreases. Both China and Japan have reported less demand since the outbreak and, according to Bloomberg News, power use in Italy dropped 7.4% in the second week of March after the government shut down schools and told workers to stay at home.
US utilities thus far have seen no substantial decrease in energy demand, but that could change as more work, entertainment, and school restrictions take place. Most industry experts say the effects on residential consumers would be minimal, if at all.
So far, local effects have been mostly positive, at least from a consumer perspective. Xcel Energy, with operations in eight Midwestern and Western states, released a statement saying that it has staff in place to ensure that power plants, line service, and customer service will remain in normal operation while it coordinates responses to the outbreak with local, state, and federal agencies.
Xcel and other utilities are also suspending power, heat, and water disconnection to residential customers until further notice—of particular concern for people who are out of work and cannot afford to pay their bills.
We’re Here if You Need Us
Allstar Electrical Services will continue to offer all our regular and emergency services as long as resources and regulations permit.
We thank you for your trust in us and look forward to providing the area’s best electrical services during the coronavirus epidemic and well into the future.