APPA News

by Paul Ciampoli
APPA News Director
Posted May 21, 2020

The latest version of the Electricity Subsector Coordinating Council (ESCC) resource guide for the power sector in response to the COVID-19 pandemic addresses several new topics including planning a transition from remote work back to the workplace.

The guide was updated with the input of the American Public Power Association and public power utilities. The updated guide, which was released on May 11, is the eighth version of the guide, which is a living document developed under the direction of the ESCC.

The ESCC serves as a liaison between the federal government and the electric power industry on cybersecurity, physical security, natural disasters, and pandemic events.

Phases/stages for workplace reentry

The ESSC said that organizations should consider developing reentry plans that include a gradual, phased de-escalation of heightened health/safety protocols in stages that are based on an evaluation of internal and external criteria.

The updated guide said that organizations should identify internal and external criteria that can be tracked and evaluated to determine whether and when to move between stages.

The ESCC provides examples of external and internal criteria.

Examples of External Criteria

* Federal, state, and local government guidance support the movement toward normal operations;
* Available local data indicate a declining trend in new COVID-19-related cases and deaths;
* Local health care systems (facilities, equipment, and personnel) can treat all patients requiring care safely without any capability or capacity issues;
* Coordinated economic restart planning with governments and other businesses in the area is completed.

Examples of Internal Criteria

* Initial deep cleaning of all company facilities is completed;
* Procedures are in place for scalable daily facilities cleaning;
* Established guidelines are in place for occupancy, workplace access, employee screening;
* Physical distancing measures are in place by location;
* Adequate and appropriate PPE is available;
* Health and safety reminders and signage are placed strategically in common areas, elevators, and conference rooms.

The guide offers additional examples of internal criteria.

In addition, the latest version of the guide includes new guidance in the following areas related to responsible reentry and return to the workplace:

* Engagement with state and local governments
* Planning considerations for field and construction work; and
* Planning considerations for technology

Internal and external communications

Version eight of the guide also includes a new section on internal and external communications.

“While external communications and stakeholder engagement remain important, internal communications will be particularly important leading up to and throughout a health emergency. To that end, it is imperative that organizations regularly update and maintain current contact information for employees, customers, and other key stakeholders,” the ESCC said.

“It is important to identify a team member who will lead communication efforts—both internal and external—and ensure that he/she has easy access to information and decision makers. Communications executives should provide input on the organization’s response to the crisis given the potential impact decisions may have on public perception and the long-term reputation of the organization.”

The latest version of the resource guide is available here.