Delivering the energy to power our customers’ lives is an important responsibility at any time, but it has been especially vital during the COVID-19 pandemic. Our employees have demonstrated flexibility and resilience in adapting to the pandemic while continuing to serve our customers safely.
Our response to the pandemic has been well-informed, decisive and measured, as recommended by medical experts, to protect the health and safety of our workforce and the public.
We understand that energy is essential to daily life for residents and businesses in our communities. Our Corporate Business Continuity Plan prepares us for a range of disruption scenarios and ensures the resilience of our operations and service to customers.
In 2007, we positioned our company to prepare for a pandemic event by including a Pandemic Plan in our Corporate Business Continuity Plan, which ensures continued operations in the event of a health-related emergency.
In March 2020, departmental business continuity plans were activated and remain in active status in response to the global pandemic. COVID-19 response teams were formed to monitor developments and organize our company’s response.
Oversight of our COVID-19 response is managed by the Health Emergency Task Force, which monitors the virus’s status, interprets local, state, and federal guidance, and oversees the impact to our workforce. In addition, other COVID-19 response teams aid in the companywide implementation of procedures, policies and protocols.
Mission: To protect the health and safety of our employees, while continuing to deliver the energy our customers rely on every day.
Health Emergency Task Force
Business Unit Teams
Corporate Health and Safety Team
Workplace Return Team
At the onset of pandemic, we successfully transitioned approximately 7,000 of our employees—more than half our workforce—to work remotely and implemented enhanced safety protocols for our essential workers in the field or at company locations. We also supported our customers in need by suspending disconnections, as well as by providing critical financial support through the FirstEnergy Foundation to foodbanks and organizations leading COVID-19 relief efforts in our communities.
We recognize that the pandemic posed unprecedented challenges for our employees, both at work and at home. We facilitated a range of tools and resources to enable employees to work effectively, while also providing flexibility and expanded benefits to help them and their families cope with the pandemic.
Some of those solutions included modifying the employee benefits plan to offer in-network coverage for COVID-19 treatment and telehealth services, providing employees with up to four hours of paid time off (PTO) to receive each dose of the vaccine and implementing a new PTO carryover process that allows employess to access unused 2020 and 2021 PTO through 2024.
successfully to remote work
for employees returning from storm restoration or mutual assistance work
dedicated to supporting business and commercial customers with payment arrangements and assistance programs
to food banks and hunger centers in the communities we serve
In addition, we introduced a range of preventive measures and new protocols to limit the spread of COVID-19 and protect the health and safety of our employees. FirstEnergy’s Corporate Health and Safety group has implemented those measures in alignment with the company’s medical consultants, the CDC, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the World Health Organization (WHO). Actions include:
Adjusting to new circumstances and working during the COVID-19 pandemic provided insight that will help us improve how we work moving forward. For example:
While this pandemic has been challenging, we have risen to the challenge, instituting preventive measures and protocols to enable business operations to continue in a safe, healthy and productive manner for all employees.
We established what employees are required to do to help keep themselves and their coworkers healthy and safe—with all measures, protocols and requirements meeting or exceeding federal, state and local policies, as well as guidance from the CDC. And as conditions change, we adjust our plan. Remaining flexible will enable us to respond swiftly but also prudently, putting employees’ needs first. Importantly, all these steps have been documented to ensure consistent implementation now and going forward.
Keeping the lights on for our customers has never been more critical than during the pandemic, as customers spend more time at home and medical and other front-line workers work around the clock to protect the health and safety of our communities. In addition to safely maintaining reliable service, we also recognized that our customers and communities faced increased challenges and hardships because of the pandemic. Steps we took to assist our customers and communities during this time included:
Communicating with our customers and keeping them informed throughout the evolution of the pandemic has been extremely important. Our Coronavirus Information site functions as a central hub of COVID-19 information, helping customers stay up to date on service-related developments and critical resources. This site provides details on payment plans and bill assistance programs, service disconnection updates, field personnel safety precautions, state-specific programs or protocols and other relevant topics, as necessary.