A Simple ‘Thank You’ Goes a Long Way
When you flip the switch as you come into a room and light comes on, do you ever pause to think about what’s happening behind the scenes to make that happen? Probably not, and as your energy provider, we don’t want you to worry about it. We WANT to be a seamless part of your everyday life.
During the COVID-19 pandemic this has been even more important to us. Our customers have a lot of concerns right now and we do not want their electricity and gas service to be among them.
As part of National Grid’s pandemic plan, some of our critical employees who run our control centers – the backbone of our electric and gas systems — volunteered to be sequestered on-site. During this time, these employees lived at work. We provided medical and sleeping accommodations, laundry facilities, showers, fitness rooms, and more, to make their long days away from their families as comfortable as possible.
Our goal has been to keep these highly skilled employees safe and healthy so they could continue to deliver the essential services our customers depend on. Sequestering has always been a part of our emergency plan, but we have never had to implement it until the COVID-19 pandemic. We were one of the first utilities in the country to take this step and that attracted a lot of media interest in the sacrifice our employees were making on behalf of the 20 million people we serve. You can see the stories from national media like Nightline and various local TV stations here.
After these stories aired, we also received a heartfelt, hand-written letter from Debbie and Walt Mahon of Queensbury, NY.
“Most of us just turn on a light, watch television, do laundry, etc., and we never give a thought to the people who make it happen,” they wrote.
Debbie Mahon said she is used to social distancing as she has been dealing with Lyme disease for several years, but she never gave a thought to the effort it took to keep the power and gas on and the steps National Grid was taking to ensure service.
“I saw the story on local TV and thought, ‘Wow, if the people in that room got sick, what a mess we would be in. They really planned ahead!’” Mahon said. “My husband is a retired volunteer fire fighter and Department of Public Services employee so we know what it is like to do critical jobs and not always be thanked. These workers are often taken for granted so I thought I should take a moment to do that.”
When this letter came to us, it truly made our employees smile.
“You don’t get thank you letters too often in this business and that’s not why we do this job,” said John Spink, vice president of control center operations for National Grid. “This was a surprise, but one that reminded us exactly why we do what we do. It is to serve our customers and during a time like this, having as much normalcy in our daily lives as we can makes things a little bit easier.”
Raymond Joyce, National Grid director for the upstate New York Eastern Regional Control Center was interviewed for the local TV story the Mahon’s saw that night. “I am sure many of our customers saw the media coverage of the steps we had taken to keep the system running, but it was especially nice to get a hand written thank you from the Mahon’s for the work were doing during an uncertain time. It meant a lot to me and I know it meant a lot to the employees at the center.”
National Grid’s Regional Control centers control the local electric and gas systems across New York, Massachusetts and Rhode Island. They monitor the system and when interruptions take place, they work with dispatched crews to safely repair the system and get power on and gas flowing again.