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Keeping the power on remains top priority amid COVID-19

March 13, 2020 | Jason Kuiper | community, customers, safety
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As event cancellations increase nationwide, and more Americans are told to stay home and practice social distancing, OPPD is taking steps to ensure reliable power.

For OPPD, that means ensuring the utility’s employees and families remain healthy so that the production, distribution and maintenance of the electric system remains reliable and is there when our customers need it the most. We also want to ensure those we serve that our customer service will be available to meet the public’s needs.

“As more people in our service territory are working from home, and as students are utilizing online learning, we here at OPPD know that our service is essential to carrying on with everyday life,” said OPPD CEO and President Tim Burke. “Our employees are taking care to remain healthy and make sure the electric system remains reliable and there for our customers whenever they need us. Our approach is to be calm, be cautious and keep the lines of communication open.”

Abundance of caution

OPPD is heeding the advice of infectious disease experts to limit social interactions to limit potential exposure to COVID-19. Such measures include adjusting the plan to host a series of community meetings in the coming weeks to gather stakeholder input on future projects involving solar and natural gas generation.

Out of an abundance of caution, and with the health of our customers and employees in mind, all materials that were to be presented in-person will soon be available online.

Internal actions

  • OPPD employees are being advised to avoid group meetings and take other preventative measures to protect themselves. This way, they will remain healthy and able to continue serving our customers.
  • Travel not deemed essential for business has been cancelled for OPPD employees. Employees are also taking care to practice safe hygiene both at home and for those still reporting to work, in the workplace.
  • For the foreseeable future, enhanced and more frequent cleaning has been initiated at OPPD facilities, particularly in high-traffic areas where there are still workers present. Frequently touched and horizontal surfaces like handrails and doorknobs will receive additional cleaning.
  • To make sure power remains available to and reliable for our customers, OPPD workers are prepared to shelter-in-place – eat, sleep and remain at the power plants – if the need arises.

Suspending disconnections

The utility understands some customers may experience challenges during this time. To support them, Burke said OPPD will suspend disconnections for non-payment through April 30. At that time, the utility will re-evaluate this moratorium.

OPPD reminds customers who pay their utility bills at our facilities or Moneygram locations, there are alternative payment methods while in-person payments are unavailable to protect the public and OPPD employees and limit person-to-person contact. You can pay your bill online at oppd.com, via the OPPDConnect app, or by phone by calling 402-536-4131 in Omaha, or 1-877-536-4131 outside of the metro calling area.

Stay informed 

There are multiple confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the OPPD service territory and health officials are preparing the public for the reality that more cases will be confirmed as testing becomes more readily available.

COVID-19 resources, health tips and more can be found at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website, https://www.cdc.gov/

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About Jason Kuiper

Jason Kuiper joined OPPD as a communications specialist in 2015. He is a former staff writer and reporter at the Omaha World-Herald, where he covered a wide range of topics but spent the majority of his career covering crime. He is a graduate of the University of Nebraska at Omaha and has also appeared in several true crime documentary shows. In his free time he enjoys cooking, spending time with his wife and three children, and reading crime novels.

View all posts by Jason Kuiper >

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