Industry Insights

Saluting Our Customers: How Utilities and Cities are Responding to COVID-19 – Part Four

Responding to COVID-19
As the world continues to navigate through the COVID-19 pandemic, our customers continue to provide critical services, including electricity, gas and water. Not only are they ensuring the reliable delivery of these resources, they are also giving back and helping those in need. In this blog series, we recognize the honorable actions utilities are taking to support their communities during this exceptional time.

BC Hydro
BC Hydro is one of the largest energy suppliers in Canada, generating and delivering electricity to 95% of the population of British Columbia and serving over four million people. To support its customers facing financial hardship due to COVID-19, BC Hydro introduced the COVID-19 relief fund. The fund allows eligible residential customers who have experienced job loss to receive three months of free credit on their BC Hydro bill. The fund also provides eligible small businesses with up to three months of waived electricity charges. Additional programs are in place to enable customers to defer bill payments or arrange for flexible payment plans.

East Timor Electricity (EDTL)
EDTL provides electricity for East Timor, comprised of the eastern half of the island of Timor. The East Timor government is offering a $15 prepaid credit for more than 160,000 customers across the country to limit the need for people to leave their homes while still ensuring electricity. Similar to other countries around the world, Timor residents have been encouraged to stay home to stop the spread of COVID-19. The electricity credit will help avoid crowds of people gathering to buy electricity credits at the EDTL boxes located throughout Dili and other parts of Timor.

Headquartered in Paris, France, Suez provides water and waste management solutions that enable cities and industries to optimize their resource management. Suez operates seven energy-from-waste plants equipped with facilities for receiving and treating infectious biomedical waste. As the waste produced by hospitals has grown in the areas most affected by COVID-19, Suez is helping to safely dispose of infectious biomedical waste in France, the Netherlands, China and the Middle East. The waste includes masks, protective gowns and all healthcare textiles. They are heat-treated at combustion temperatures of 1000 to 1100°C, eliminating bacteria and viruses. Suez is also taking action to protect the elderly population with a free pilot service called “ON’connect™ generation.” The services provide family members or caretakers with an analysis of water consumption by reading the elderly person’s smart meter. This gives insight into the person’s wellbeing throughout the day when water is used, such as showering and mealtimes. If unusual behavior is detected, the caretaker receives a notification via a mobile application on their smartphone or tablet.

Stay tuned as we share additional inspiring stories of how our utility customers are promoting health, safety and hope during this challenging time. Read the previous blogs in this series, including part one, part two and part three.