Energy Networks Association and Energy UK's members and the industry trade unions are encouraging people to remain focused, keep colleagues and customers safe, and ensure there is no room for complacency during the relaxation of government’s rules.
Due to concerns about the direct and indirect risks of COVID-19 across their industries, all stakeholders have focused both on the principles of simple and clear controls and communications as well as on their response to the concerns of colleagues.
As a result, over the past year, members have strengthened their established relationships and worked together on this shared challenge as they do with all aspects of health and safety. The whole sector can be proud of how it adapted quickly and the effective controls introduced.
This could not have been done without the commitment and dedication of the energy sector’s entire workforce. As the industry progress forward it will continue to monitor the situation closely and remain cautious about the future.
Over the next three to four months, the UK is likely to see progressive relaxation of existing COVID-19 restrictions in communities. However, the steps taken to protect colleagues and the public are only effective when complacency is avoided and good habits of social distancing, hygiene and reducing contact with others continue to be followed.
People working within the electricity supply industry, including colleagues from across Northern Powergrid, have worked hard and adapted their ways of working to meet COVID-19 controls. The controls have been effective and habits have changed but it’s essential to avoid lapses that place colleagues at risk.
The electricity industry and unions will continue to make the following commitments to:
- review controls to ensure that everyone in the industry is kept safe
- keep customers safe where interact with them
- set a good example by changing our own habits
- strive to design out risk wherever possible
- respond promptly to concerns about the practicality of controls.
The industry has worked together to minimise the risks of COVID-19 and as it sustains this to the end of the pandemic, colleagues from across the sector can all be proud of what has been achieved.
David Smith, Chief Executive of Energy Networks Association, which represents the UK and Ireland’s energy networks businesses, said: “The UK’s energy network operators have worked hard in partnership with industry and trades union colleagues to keep energy flowing safely to homes and businesses throughout the pandemic. As COVID restrictions relax, keeping a relentless focus on safety is more important than ever. We know that people across the country are relying on us and we will always take an approach which safeguards the health and wellbeing of our customers and colleagues, while maintaining a safe and reliable supply of energy.”
Andy Bilclough, Northern Powergrid’s Director of Field Operations and executive lead on the company’s pandemic incident management team, said: “Our people have shown incredible focus and commitment to doing the right thing every day so that our COVID-19 Secure practices are upheld. Partnership has been key to the success of the industry and network operators like Northern Powergrid being able to power communities and support the national pandemic response.
"We’re incredibly proud of our teams and are focused on ensuring high standards stay in place and collaboration continues to keep safety at the forefront of everything we do. As lockdown begins to ease, we are regularly reminding our people about the importance of maintaining best practice at all times and championing personal responsibility - both in and out of work - so we can keep each other, our customers and our communities safe.”
Audrey Gallacher, Deputy Chief Executive and Director of Policy at Energy UK who represent both energy suppliers and generators said: “Our members in energy generation and supply have adapted quickly and worked hard to ensure the lights stay on, that customers and colleagues are supported whilst also maintaining the highest levels of health and safety standards to keep everyone safe. Collaboration across the energy sector and with the trade unions has been essential and has been strengthened in these unprecedented times. As COVID restrictions continue to be relaxed there is no time for complacency and our commitment to working together to beat this challenge is unwavering.”
Sue Ferns, Senior Deputy General Secretary of Prospect added: "The success of the sector’s controls on COVID-19 shows the added value of our joint approach to health and safety. However we must continue to work throughout the easing of COVID controls in the wider community to avoid complacency. These controls have helped keep colleagues and customers safe: we can be proud of what we have achieved so long as we maintain our guard over the coming months."