Stephen De May: Duke Energy keeps lights on during crisis

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, April 7, 2020

By Stephen De May

As COVID-19 takes a toll on the health and well-being of our state, I’m encouraged by the spirit and resolve of North Carolinians.

I’ve been awestruck by the selfless acts of those on the frontlines — from health-care workers fighting the virus to store clerks stocking the shelves with food and so many more. 

At Duke Energy, we feel a heightened sense of urgency because our service is critical to hospitals, essential businesses and homes across the state. Here’s what we’re doing to keep the lights on, help customers and keep our people safe, especially the ones who must work outside the home to keep the gas and electricity flowing:

• We continue to respond to power outages and other emergencies, so you’ll see our workers in the community. To protect the communities we serve, we’re asking our critical workers in the field or operating power plants to maintain safe distances and use enhanced protective gear. If they need to interact with a customer, they will follow strict Centers for Disease Control guidance, which we are closely monitoring for developments. 

• We’ve also taken several steps to help relieve the financial burden on our customers and communities. In mid-March, the company stopped service disconnections for unpaid bills and waived late payments fees and fees for returned payments for electric and natural gas customers. As Gov. Roy Cooper underscored in last week’s executive order, it is the right thing to do.

• We’re also providing financial support to food banks and community action groups across North Carolina to address hunger relief, with a focus on K-12 students and their families.

This is an unprecedented time and we will continue to support our customers and communities as the crisis unfolds. We’re all in this together.

Stephen De May is president of Duke Energy North Carolina.