Disaster Response and Mutual Aid

APPA, other groups urge power workers to stay vigilant in guarding against COVID-19

A group of power industry trade and union leaders including Joy Ditto, President and CEO of the American Public Power Association, on July 2 urged power industry workers to remain vigilant in guarding against COVID-19 exposure and following the guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on personal hygiene, social distancing, and the use of masks or face coverings.

“As we head into this holiday weekend, we are writing to thank you for all you do each day to power our nation and to keep the lights on for the customers and the communities you serve,” Ditto and the others wrote. “We applaud you for your unwavering dedication and your commitment to safety, particularly as we navigate through these challenging and unprecedented times.  

Other signatories to the letter were Tom Kuhn, President of Edison Electric Institute, Jim Matheson, CEO of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, Lonnie Stephenson, International President, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, and James Slevin, National President, Utility Workers Union of America.

“Today, we all are seeing concerning trends in the spread of the coronavirus around the country, and it is more important than ever that we do not let our guards down, either as individuals or as a critical infrastructure industry,” the power group and union leaders wrote.

“We know that electricity and the energy grid are indispensable, and our nation is relying on your essential work during this pandemic. That is why we are joining together — as labor and electric power industry leaders — to encourage you to stay vigilant and to continue to follow the guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on personal hygiene, social distancing, and, most important, the use of masks or face coverings.”

They went on to say that as “we learn more about this virus, the guidance from the CDC and our nation’s health care experts continues to evolve; we now know that staying at least 6 feet apart and, when unable to do so, wearing a mask saves lives. We also know that we cannot fully restart our economy or return to any type of normalcy until we are able to control the spread of this virus.”

Ditto and the others noted that safety is, “and has always been, our industry’s number one priority. We have a tremendous opportunity now to lead by example and to serve as role models for our fellow citizens by expanding the safety culture that we practice in our workplaces to our communities.”