The events on the world scene surrounding coronavirus have challenged our idea of normal life and tested the limits of our societal structures. While social distancing and stay-at-home orders are mixing up daily routines, the role of the electric utility remains clear—to keep the lights on. It’s a matter of national security. As the “world’s biggest machine,” the electric grid quietly breathes life into the front lines of keeping the public healthy and functioning, from hospitals and fire stations to homes and businesses.
Our peers have compared the pandemic to a storm, and while it is frightening and devastating, that’s where the similarities end. What we are facing is less certain than anything we have seen before; it is less predictable, and we can’t reach into our memory to model its behavior. It’s not bound to a geographic area and its end cannot be imagined, like the sunny days following a hurricane. We’ve never needed to consider so many of our general work force out sick or quarantined, and we can’t predict the economic fallout. There is no guidebook for this emergency. And by the way, hurricane season is around the corner.
This mix of uncertainty, hazard, and criticality is exactly what utilities plan for, to ensure the reliability and resiliency of our system. As events have unfolded, we have implemented plans that guarantee electric service is available to all our members. These plans cover every aspect of our business, from the continuity of administrative functions and providing assistance to members, to operating the electric grid and responding to outages. They consider a range of scenarios, including the most extreme, and each day brings new information to analyze, and the need to adjust plans accordingly.
This crisis is manageable, but it will not be without hardship. The economic fallout is hitting our communities particularly hard. Many are out of work, forcing tough decisions on what bills to pay. As this adversity works through the system, it creates a financial strain on the cooperative that could be felt for some time. Again, be assured we’ve planned for these scenarios, to protect the system you invest in every month.
Our purpose statement reads: “Brunswick EMC is the trusted energy partner, delivering superior value and creating a brighter future with our members and communities.” Every decision we make is with this purpose in mind. This is the commitment of every employee and contractor that works for BEMC. It has guided our response to this unprecedented event thus far, and it will guide us through it and beyond. As you move forward, thinking about the wellbeing of your friends and family, as you discuss plans to rebuild your business or get back to work, as you hit the light switch, start the stove, or turn on Netflix, be assured that electricity will be there. And if the “machine” is temporarily pushed to its limit, and it falters, rest easy, the power will be back on soon. This crisis is tough, it’s enduring, but it’s manageable. We are all in this together, and we’ll get out together.
Visit our website for the latest update from BEMC about COVID-19.