2020 presented extraordinary circumstances, not only for Entergy but for everyone around the world. COVID-19 changed the way we live our lives — personally and professionally. Social unrest gripped our nation. And a storm season unlike any other in the history of our company devastated communities across our service area.
At Entergy, we were prepared.
We provide a service that is critical for daily life. Everyone depends on reliable power for homes, businesses, and public services. And we know that in times of extraordinary and unexpected hardship, our customers and our communities need us more than ever. We understand that we have a tremendous responsibility in times like these, and we don’t take that responsibility lightly. That’s why we prepare for the extraordinary. We have a comprehensive, tried-and-tested incident response plan that anticipates a variety of events including storms, cyber-attacks, emergency leadership succession, and pandemics.
We run drills routinely so that everyone knows their roles and responsibilities and, when activated, the plan runs smoothly.
In 2007, we developed our pandemic response plan specifically to address events like the one we are faced with today. For COVID-19, we mobilized our teams on January 16, 2020 — very early. We focused on four primary objectives:
- Ensuring the safety and wellness of our employees,
- Maintaining safe, reliable service for our customers,
- Supporting our communities through volunteerism and financial resources, and
- Mitigating financial impacts to protect the financial health of the company.
Our response throughout the year worked as planned. We met the needs and expectations of our customers, employees, and communities; all of our operations and major projects remained on track; and we met and delivered on our financial commitments.
We took decisive action to help our customers and our communities and to help protect our employees.
For our employees
We implemented new safety and health protocols for face-to-face customer interactions and worked to ensure adequate supply of constrained products, such as hand sanitizer and facial coverings.
We transitioned 50% of our workforce to telecommuting. We created remote support and resources for employees and managers to help our teams continue to work effectively.
We established guidelines and training for new policies and procedures, including travel restrictions, personal protective equipment, industrial hygiene, and temperature checks.
We established a contact tracing program to provide support to workers who were ill or exposed to COVID-19.
We conducted surveys of onsite and telecommuting employees to keep our finger on the pulse of the organization. Through these surveys and other feedback forums, we measured employee well-being as well as their expectations and desires to improve their work experience. As a result, we took a wide variety of actions including adjusting training and communications, revising policies, and introducing new tools.
For our customers and our communities
We temporarily suspended service disconnections for nonpayment and created flexible payment plans.
We built an online COVID-19 resource, entergy.com/covid-19, that offers a wealth of information on Entergy’s response, customer resources, and third-party and government resources available to individuals and businesses for COVID-19 relief. We also proactively reached out to targeted customers about the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, or LIHEAP.
We committed $3.3 million in charitable contributions to support response efforts across our service area, including $1.3 million to the Entergy COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund to help working families who experienced financial hardships as a result of the pandemic.
We worked with community partners to advocate for the inclusion of emergency utility assistance funding as part of the CARES Act, resulting in additional funding for low-income households within the states that Entergy serves.
We introduced new virtual volunteer platforms that provided hundreds of volunteer opportunities for employees to serve our communities. We also established new health and safety protocols to resume in-person volunteerism.
We committed $3.3 million in charitable contributions to support response efforts across our service area.
The COVID-19 pandemic is ongoing, and Entergy’s pandemic response plan remains in effect. We will remain in our current work posture until June, at the earliest. We will continue to evaluate the ever-changing circumstances, and we will continue to support our employees, our customers, and our communities.
Record-Breaking Storm Season
The 2020 Atlantic hurricane season was the busiest ever recorded, with 30 named storms. Entergy found itself in the cone of uncertainty for seven of those storms. Five named storms hit Louisiana, making it the most active storm season ever for the state. The impact of hurricanes Laura, Delta, and Zeta was significant. Cumulatively, we experienced more than 1.5 million peak outages.
Storm Damage Statistics
|Poles||Transformers||Wire Spans||Substations||Transmission lines|
|Laura||Poles: 14,000||Transformers: 4,600||Wire Spans: 29,600||Substations: 300||Transmission Lines: 225|
|Delta||Poles: 1,500||Transformers: 500||Wire Spans: 3,930||Substations: 215||Transmission Lines: 160|
|Zeta||Poles: 2,750||Transformers: 570||Wire Spans: 1,800||Substations: 30||Transmission Lines: 40|
Entergy was prepared and staged multiple, significant response efforts. Cumulatively, we deployed more than 54,000 resources including employees, contractors, and mutual-assistance workers from more than 30 states. For Hurricane Laura, Entergy mobilized its largest restoration workforce in company history.
Hurricane Laura decimated transmission and distribution systems in southwest Louisiana. Restoring power to nearly all affected customers in just over three weeks required sustained focus and teamwork, creative thinking, and flexibility. A cross-functional team focused on several key issues:
- Managing service to the Lake Charles area, keeping a delicate balance of load and generation with one single tie connecting the city.
- Pulling resources and materials from across our system, combining work and focus into one single effort.
- Supply chain and logistics worked quickly to procure materials and set up staging sites.
- Distribution rapidly deployed emergency generators to temporarily feed loads.
The damage to Entergy’s transmission system by Hurricane Laura was extensive. All nine transmission lines that deliver power into the Lake Charles area were out of service. While newer structures built with modern technology withstood Laura’s winds, many older transmission structures were damaged beyond repair and required complete replacement.
In order to secure the materials needed to rebuild these structures, the company cast a wide net, looking worldwide for potential sources of transmission equipment. In total, 24 utilities provided equipment.
A unique challenge for this season’s storm response was COVID-19. While the health and safety of our workforce is always at the core of every decision we make, the pandemic elevated our focus to new levels. COVID-19 presented logistical challenges with lodging and staging sites for more than 50,000 workers. We successfully completed restoration with only 0.2% of our workers requiring quarantine or isolation from exposure or infection. This result was a testament to our employees and the health safety mitigation practices we deployed.
Entergy's operating companies received broad support from local, state, and federal officials on their restoration efforts. We will work with our regulators to recover the costs in a manner that mitigates the impact on customer bills.
Our customers and communities were significantly impacted by 2020 storms. Entergy Corporation, Entergy Louisiana, and Entergy Texas contributed more than $1.1 million to help local nonprofit agencies provide a range of relief services in storm-damaged areas.
Nearly 5,000 Entergy employees’ homes were in the path of 2020 storms, and many employees had to leave their families and damaged homes to get the lights back on for our customers.
Nearly 5,000 Entergy employees’ homes were in the path of 2020 storms, and many employees had to leave their families and damaged homes to get the lights back on for our customers. We also made sure that our employees and their families received support, resources, and relief. With 645 employees reporting some level of property damage, our trained employee impact team reached out to each of them to assess their needs and offer support. While we couldn’t deploy employee volunteers as we had in the past because of the pandemic, we were able to help through Entergy’s Employee Assistance Fund and by providing tarps and other supplies, additional paid time off, counseling through the Employee Assistance Program, and alternate housing locating services.
Customer communications is critical during storms. Entergy uses multiple communications channels to ensure our customers can stay informed. Proactive messaging tools include text, email, alert messages, and phone calls. Entergy’s social media platforms kept our customers and stakeholders informed with frequent storm preparation and restoration updates along with personal safety and preparedness tips.
Entergy’s governmental liaison group proactively engages governmental and regulatory stakeholders throughout the entirety of our incident response processes. During storm responses, we participate in regular coordination calls led by the Electricity Subsector Coordinating Council, which serves as the principal liaison between the federal government and the electric power industry on national-level disasters. We also participate in industry-wide calls coordinated by the Department of Energy’s Emergency Support Function #12.
Stories of people struggling to make their voices heard as they seek equity and justice are unacceptable, and unfortunately all too common. The social unrest of 2020 was a springboard for a constructive national dialogue about systemic racism.
Entergy’s human rights statement notes, “Entergy respects the human rights of all individuals.” We remain steadfast in our commitment to elevate our communities through tangible actions like ensuring diversity among our Board and executive leadership teams, establishing recruiting and retention programs that help our workforce reflect the rich diversity of the communities we serve, spending our money with diverse and local suppliers and business partners, and investing our volunteer time and financial resources to build a diverse pipeline of talent while also contributing to the economic livelihood of our region.
We leave no room at Entergy for
racism, discrimination, or intolerance.
We leave no room at Entergy for racism, discrimination, or intolerance. We seek to achieve our vision and mission through diversity and inclusion of all people and their unique ideas, backgrounds, perspectives, religions, and cultures. In the spring of 2020, our executive team held a company-wide town hall on race and equality with a goal to foster transparent, productive conversations among employees and leaders at all levels. Since that time, teams have been hard at work laying a firm foundation on which we continue to build and strengthen our culture of diversity, inclusion, and belonging.