Customer service continues in the face of a pandemic

April 1, 2020

Crews take extra steps to ensure their safety while providing reliable energy to those in need

Across the Southern Company system, employees are working to stay safe while providing reliable energy to customers who need it in the face of a pandemic.

That was evident in Georgia as Atlanta Gas Light employees had their first known service activation for a customer known to have COVID-19.

AGL Vice President Jesse Killings was on site for the activation and joined Conyers Service Center employees in suiting up to go inside the customer’s home with AGL technicians.

“I want our employees to see that I trust our processes and protective gear enough to put myself in their shoes,” Killings said. “I would never ask our employees to do something I would not do myself, and it’s important right now for everyone to trust that we’re taking the right precautions.”

The customer, who needed hot water, self-identified as having the virus and being in quarantine and informed the crew that his wife was suspected of having the virus as well.

The responding technicians took all the proper measures both inside and outside the home including wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) and practicing social distancing from the couple.

That’s one example of many of employees taking extra steps to ensure their safety while helping their communities.

Mississippi Power makes crucial repairs for hospital

In Meridian, Mississippi, a Mississippi Power crew made needed repairs at Anderson Regional Medical Center in the middle of the night to ensure the facility didn’t have a bigger problem after infrared testing detected hot spots in cables on the hospital’s side of the meter.

“The hospital needed our expertise to identify and correct this issue,” said Mississippi Power Engineering and Operations Manager Rob Robinson. “We were happy to go in and solve the problem before something more serious happened, especially at a time when hospitals are under a lot of serious stress and strain.”

The crew took extra precautions to ensure their exposure to the coronavirus or other illnesses was reduced. The work was scheduled for a Friday night, when there are less people at the hospital.

“Usually, the hospital maintenance staff is with us on repairs, but they stayed away and let us work alone. We had a place for our team to frequently was their hands. They did a great job of completing the work safely.”

Maintaining distance, maintaining focus

While healthcare is a critical need, more customers are also home during the day and depend on energy to work remotely and keep their kids’ school on track. Distribution teams across the system are working hard to minimize disruptions to service as much as possible while remaining in the field.

“Our crews have a heightened sense of accountability and responsibility to our customers due to the pandemic,” said Ryan McTier, Georgia Power Atlanta Distribution supervisor.  “We know people are uneasy right now, and we are doing everything in our power to remain safe, keep a safe distance between each other and any customers, and maintain our focus we are well aware that the service we provide is important now more than ever.”

Customers can do their part too to help keep those in the field safe. To help prevent the spread of COVID-19, the public is asked to maintain a safe social distance of six feet from crews and field representatives. This will allow employees to safely continue to serve customers.

“Following social distancing recommendations and best practices allow our employees to continue to provide affordable, reliable energy to the communities we serve,” said Alabama Power spokesman Dennis Washington. “We appreciate everyone’s help as we work together to power our communities through this time.”