The new coronavirus COVID-19 has dominated news reports and my attention for the past few weeks. I’m sure you feel the same way.
As public health concerns about the coronavirus COVID-19 transform the way we live, I’ve watched as our coalition members from the energy and water utilities do what they do best: protect public health and safety. Their actions, and those from many of our coalition members across sectors, are a bright spot in a solemn time.
From emergency operations centers around the region, I’ve heard from utilities about all they are doing to support the communities they serve. Water and power must flow, and it will. This means that while vast numbers of Southern Californians are told to stay home, some essential employees involved in providing these services must report in-person to work. They understand their responsibility and will fulfill it.
Even more heartening are the stories I hear from our members about the charitable support being offered for customers in need. They are suspending disconnection notices to ensure no one has to worry about their water or electricity being shut off. They are extending payment options to those having trouble paying their bills. They are working around the clock to ensure that utilities are operating smoothly.
I do want to amplify one particular water quality message. Social and news media have been full of images of people buying cases and cases of water and we want to make one thing clear: Your tap water is clean and safe to drink, so there is no need to buy bottled water in bulk. Water treatment facilities remove and kill viruses, including coronaviruses. Read more about it in this fact sheet from Metropolitan Water District HERE.
The stories I’m hearing from our coalition members in agriculture, nonprofits, businesses and more mirror the same spirit of community service–from bank payment extensions to senior shopping hours at grocery stores to simple checking in on neighbors and customers at risk. I know three things: we’re in this together and we will get through this. And essential services such as water and power will remain reliable even as so much around us transforms.