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Vector To Prioritise Essential Energy Services During COVID-19

Vector will prioritise essential energy services across the Vector Group to best protect its people, communities and customers during the COVID-19 lockdown.

Vector is a provider of lifeline utility services – including electricity, gas and fibre networks that keep the lights on, energy flowing and people connected, across Auckland and other parts of the country. These energy networks, along with our nationwide bottled OnGas services, are considered essential under the government’s definition for Alert Level 4.

Vector Chief Executive Simon Mackenzie said Vector began its response to COVID-19 some weeks ago and has this week taken business continuity plans to the next stage.

“The health and safety of our people and communities continues to be our number one priority and with the country in lockdown, we are halting all non-essential activity across our energy businesses.

“It’s critical for everyone to please play their part and stay home during the lockdown - for their own health and to protect the people who are keeping all the essential services going, not just Vector.

“We have identified the critical people who are the core of our essential energy services and have taken steps to protect them as best we can. This includes splitting our network operators into teams, basing them at different sites and introducing a range of strict hygiene practices and wellbeing support measures.

“Like other lifeline utilities, Vector relies on human beings to keep essential energy services going and none of us are immune to what’s going on,” said Simon.

Vector’s field technician teams will continue to carry out essential planned and reactive maintenance across our electricity, gas and fibre networks, as well as for Vector’s metering operations.

LPG and natural gas sales and distribution teams operating under Vector’s OnGas brand will also continue providing essential services across New Zealand.

Reprioritising planned maintenance

To minimise disruption to energy consumers, Vector is temporarily halting planned outages across its electricity and gas networks to ensure these can be appropriately prioritised during the lockdown period.

“Like everyone, Vector is dealing with a rapidly changing situation and so we are assessing all planned works that involve customer power outages for the next four weeks. We are very aware that families and communities are going to be based from home and even more reliant on the continuity of power. Everything that can be cancelled or postponed will be.

“We must emphasise that there will be times when we must continue with essential upgrades. These upgrades are non-negotiable as they provide the community with a safe and reliable power supply,” said Simon.

“These works may also relate to maintenance required to support other essential services. For example, we have a situation where a supermarket needs a new store room, so there will be a short outage allowing us to reconfigure the network accordingly.”

Vector workplaces now closed, most staff working from home

This week Vector workplaces closed with only key staff responsible for operating essential energy services now able to work in Vector offices. All other employees are working from home.

Vector PowerSmart and HRV operations have temporarily closed, with staff either working from home or deployed to help out with Vector’s essential energy services.

“In this unprecedented time, we are all dependent on the wider community response and containment. We will continue to do everything we can to play our part effectively, monitoring the situation and making changes as necessary,” said Simon.

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