16 Mar 2020, 14:09
Benjamin Wehrmann

Germany's utilities say power supply secure amid coronavirus response

Clean Energy Wire

The far-reaching measures taken in Germany and across Europe to contain the outbreak of the novel coronavirus do not compromise the security of the country's power supply, the association of local utilities (VKU) has said. "Energy supply currently is neither in danger nor impaired," said VKU head Michael Wübbels, adding that local utilities and distribution grid operators nevertheless are taking precautions to slow the virus's spread and minimise the infection risk for their employees. Utilities are allowing employees to work from home if possible, urging them to avoid external contacts and seeking to establish separate teams that can maintain services independently. Moreover, the utilities are trying to identify possible bottlenecks in advance to ensure power supply is not interrupted if some workers are infected and must stay home. VKU welcomed the decision by several German states to include energy company employees in the list of systemically relevant occupations, which also covers police, firefighters and medical staff. Parents from these occupational groups will be provided with public childcare options even though schools and kindergartens across the country are gradually being closed over the course of this week.

VKU represents more than 1,500 local utilities with nearly 270,000 staff who work in energy, water and waste management in Germany's municipalities. In its response to the global coronavirus pandemic, Germany's federal government and its state governments decided at the end of last week on substantial measures to reduce social interaction and thereby prevent infections across the population, such as prohibiting mass events, limiting international travel, shutting down clubs, bars and other venues, and reducing schooling and childcare to emergency levels.

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