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UK Power Networks signs COVID-19 Business Pledge

UK Power Networks has joined a global business initiative to help those most in need during the coronavirus pandemic.

From Press releases - 4 May 2020 10:00 AM

Former UK Cabinet minister, Rt Hon Justine Greening, launched the C-19 Business Pledge with entrepreneur David Harrison to encourage employers to help their employees, customers and communities get through the crisis.

UK Power Networks has pledged its backing to three objectives to help address the challenges of coronavirus and the aftermath. Kerry Potter, consumer vulnerability manager at UK Power Networks, said: “We are proud to back the C-19 Business Pledge. It reflects the culture of our organisation, and our determination to be a positive part of the community response to this cruel epidemic. We can’t kill coronavirus with kindness, but businesses that care can make a difference while society is going through these difficult times. This is bringing organisations together to share best practice and provide the best response.”

The three pledges are:

•Support employees through COVID-19 and beyond

UK Power Networks has not furloughed any employees, including those who are shielding and cannot work. It offers a free employee assistance line providing counselling, financial advice, legal consultation and health advice, plus mental health support and staff loans. The company launched a new scheme to support the expenses of employees needing care for vulnerable relatives living with them. It also provides food supplies for operational employees during shifts to reduce journeys.

•Clear customer advice, support and information 

UK Power Networks’ call centre is open 24/7 throughout the pandemic, with advisers equipped to work from home. Customers in vulnerable circumstances were contacted, to reassure them help is still there in the unlikely event of a power cut. A new app was launched to help employees refer residents who need it to trusted supportive organisations. The team is maintaining enhanced services for those in need via a Priority Services Register and has given reassurance and advice to care homes and hospitals. Where customers are struggling with paying their energy bills the company has a range of partners providing practical advice and support to help reduce energy costs. FAQs are regularly updated and accessible from the company’s website.

•Help communities through the epidemic. 

UK Power Networks led a collaboration between eight utility firms to donate £500,000 to 21 community foundations. This is distributing fast funding to local charities, including local foodbanks, volunteer centres, food delivery services and outreach programmes for those at risk of isolation. The company also re-purposed its Power Partners £300,000 scheme to help people struggling to pay their energy bills while out of work and at home. Employees have two paid days to volunteer in their communities which they can spend on a new scheme to ‘Donate by Dialling’, ringing people who are isolated during lockdown.

Justine Greening said: “With the future of many employers hanging in the balance and incredibly tough times unfolding across all sectors, businesses face many incredibly difficult decisions. But those organisations who are able to, can have a huge role in battling the impact of coronavirus and make a real difference in these uniquely challenging times. In spite of everything, we are seeing a global response from hundreds of employers that have already shown amazing initiative and commitment to helping people affected by coronavirus. The C-19 Business Pledge is all about encouraging as many businesses and universities as possible to get involved and then helping them do that faster and better by sharing all the great work that’s already been done. The early response has been incredible and I’ll do everything I can to help to connect up business to play its role in this international effort.”

For more information visit www.c19businesspledge.org