Duke Energy keeps robust business continuity plans that help ensure critical functions continue operating under a broad range of circumstances. These include all-hazard emergencies, national security emergencies and natural, man-made and technological threats.
We have taken a number of steps to prepare in the weeks leading up to the spread of COVID-19. We began “stress testing” our plans for critical functions needed to serve the energy needs of our customers. We prepared our workforce, added bandwidth for our information technology systems, began reviewing inventory in supply chain and creating communications strategies for a variety of anticipated scenarios. We also engaged our environmental, health and safety experts to inform us of the best path forward as the situation continues to unfold.
- Duke Energy power plants and electricity and natural gas delivery facilities are staffed, helping ensure dependable service to customers.
- As a provider of an essential service, we are working hard to deliver the reliable power customers need, while helping to protect the health and well-being of our communities.
- We have implemented stringent preventive measures in alignment with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) guidance to help keep employees and customers safe and help ensure we have adequate resources to maintain reliability.
- The company is taking a variety of measures to help protect employee health, including dividing essential work teams to different locations where possible, conducting thermal monitoring and screening at priority sites and implementing remote working for all those who can.
Protecting and Serving our Customers
- We are taking extra precautions to help keep both our customers and employees safe and help reduce the spread of COVID-19. If an in-person engagement or interaction is necessary, our employees may ask a series of questions before entering a home or facility. They may also wear special protective clothing and ask that you help them maintain a distance of at least 6 feet.
- At this time, company technicians will continue to complete requested service orders – such as new electric connections and requested disconnections. Duke Energy line crews will continue to respond to power outages and other emergencies immediately.
- We recognize the COVID-19 pandemic could create financial hardships for many of our customers and local communities. We continue to monitor impacts and make operational decisions accordingly. We encourage customers to contact us to discuss their specific situations as well.
- Duke Energy will not disconnect any customer’s service for nonpayment in order to give customers experiencing financial hardships extra time to make payments. The company will continue to read meters and send bills. Customers should pay what they can to avoid building up a large balance that will be harder to pay off later. We also continue to evaluate additional payment and billing options to assist customers as we continue to respond to this event.
- We are waiving late payment fees for all electric and natural gas customers from March 21 and will continue to assess the duration of this waiver as the circumstances around the pandemic evolve. For residential customers, the company also will waive fees for credit and debit card payments.
- Services that are not urgent or time-sensitive and require in-person customer contact by Duke Energy employees will be rescheduled. Duke Energy will contact customers to reschedule those appointments.
- Duke Energy’s customer service team remains available to serve customers. The company will evaluate any staffing impacts related to school and other closures and will adjust accordingly.
Protecting the Grid
- Our electric grid continues to meet our customers’ energy needs. We are closely monitoring grid operations and coordinating with industry partners to ensure the overall stability and reliability of the grid across the U.S.
- We take cybersecurity seriously. During times like these, employees and customers are especially vulnerable to email phishing and other scams related to COVID-19. We are aware that these tactics are on the rise and our cybersecurity experts are monitoring our system closely. Our multilayered approach also involves educating our employees. We are reminding employees to be vigilant and to not click on any suspicious links or open emails from unknown senders.
Monitoring our Supply Chain
- We are not seeing significant impacts to our supply chain currently, and it remains stable. We are prepared to reach out to other suppliers as needed.
- Similar to most large companies and organizations, we continue to monitor and order critical cleaning supplies, recognizing hospitals and medical systems are the national priority.