Consumers Energy Remains Strong on Front Lines of CrisisApril 9, 2020
In today’s Tele-Town Hall, Consumers Energy President and CEO Patti Poppe shared with Detroit Regional Chamber President and CEO Sandy K. Baruah how the company has acted as first responders to the crisis and her thoughts on how the state will transition back to normal.
On the Front Lines
To ensure the continued flow of electricity to the critical operations in Michigan like hospitals and grocery stores, the Consumers Energy team has opted to stay on-site in campers, protecting their families and communities from further spread of the virus.
“Without hesitation, we literally were able to activate that in a matter of days,” said Poppe. “The logistics of safe food delivery and security on the site and enabling 24-hour living there. It’s just extraordinary. And that’s the way our team feels.”
Poppe said she views the Consumers Energy team as first responders since they must constantly navigate extreme weather conditions and other crises. The company began preparing for COVID-19 in mid-February, said Poppe.
Help for Small Businesses and Individuals
Consumers Energy has started a hotline to help businesses to navigate the numerous resources to remain afloat during the crisis. Resources include the Payment Protection Program and other disaster loans.
Consumers has options for businesses and individuals struggling including payment plans and helping them find access to funds available. For more information, call either contact center.
- Hotline for individual households: (800) 477-5050
- Hotline for small businesses: (800) 805-0490
Transitioning to Normalcy
Baruah and Poppe discussed how life could possibly change once the spread of the virus slows and society begins to revert back to normal. A slow reintroduction is necessary, acknowledged Poppe, and handshakes could be out of the question for some time until people feel more comfortable.
“People are going to have to feel psychologically safe,” said Poppe. “This virus is invisible and that makes it scary, and it’s hard to know when you are in fact safe. I think helping with good medical advice, standards, [and] practices that are the best recommended will help people feel psychologically able to return to work and to return to public gatherings.”
Businesses will need to enforce new hazard mitigation techniques to ensure safety in the workplace, said Poppe. Just like wearing a seatbelt, not sharing equipment, cleaning surfaces, and keeping a distance in social situations will become the new normal.