Public power offers help with rollout of COVID-19 vaccines in their communities

February 24, 2021

by Paul Ciampoli
APPA News Director
February 24, 2021

Public power utilities and their staff are making themselves available to help with the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines in their communities.

“We are supporting the vaccination process at a Chelan County community center in several ways,” said Neil Neroutsos, Communications Manager at Washington State’s Chelan County PUD.

Specifically, Chelan County PUD is assisting with site logistics, security, parking lot attendants, snow-removal and supplemental back-up generators. It is also providing overflow parking in a Chelan PUD park for people waiting for vaccinations.

“This support is coming in part from the PUD’s Public Power Benefit program, which uses a portion of funds from surplus energy sales for investments in the community,” Neroutsos said.

“We have a few folks acting in support on planning teams, including myself” in the county joint information system “and have offered the county some facilities for storage and other power supply needs,” said Aaron Swaney, a spokesperson for Snohomish County PUD. “They haven’t needed it so far.”

Meanwhile, Patty Garcia-Likens, a spokesperson for Arizona’s Salt River Project, said that like a number of organizations in the community, SRP has worked with a couple different vaccine distribution sites to assist with their staffing requirements. 

“These opportunities are done on a voluntary basis only and SRP employees have been able to react on short notice and with enthusiasm,” she noted.

Washington State’s Grant PUD has asked employees who may want to assist with vaccination events to complete a short survey “based on feedback we have received from Grant County Health District,” noted Chuck Allen, Public Affairs Supervisor at Grant PUD.

“At this time, they have not asked for our support for anything, but we are ready to offer support as much as possible if they do make a request,” Allen noted.