How utilities rapidly adapted to COVID-19

COVID-19 at first came slowly to the United States, then it came quickly in March. The Trump administration declared a national emergency on March 13 and within weeks, utilities across the country had suspended disconnections and enacted continuity of operations plans.

Utilities reacted swiftly to the crisis as both an economic and public health crisis. At Chartwell, we’ve been helping the industry look at the crisis in two ways: as a singular event that needed emergency response and as an accelerant to many existing trends within the industry, like digital transformation.

In our recently published report on utility responses to COVID-19, we focus on the emergency actions utilities took to communicate with their employees and customers.

Safety has always been a top priority in the utility industry. That safety-focused culture once again was important to keeping the lights on in homes across the country during COVID-19. From working from home to quarantining essential employees, to changing communications language to echo phrases like “essential workers” or “essential outages,” utilities responded decisively.

On the other hand, the economic crisis hit utilities as well and is causing a large collections accumulation across. Utilities are now using creative ways to tackle the problem.

To find out more about these issues and more, please check out our report, “Utilities and COVID-19: Companies focus on serving customers, safely sustaining the grid” (member access only).