Statement of Toby Thomas, President and Chief Operating Officer of Indiana Michigan Power, updating communities in the I&M service territory regarding delivery of energy service during the coronavirus pandemic:
Thank you for this opportunity to update the community about the status of Indiana Michigan Power at this crucial time.
I&M does not anticipate any interruptions in our service related to the coronavirus. I&M’s No. 1 focus is on the health and safety of our customers and employees as our teams continue to work to keep the lights on 24/7. We have updated our emergency plans for the COVID-19 pandemic and we continue to closely monitor the situation.
This is a challenging and uncertain time. Indiana Michigan Power encourages all of our customers to abide by the guidelines that the Centers for Disease Control and our state and local government authorities have issued.
Recognizing the need for Personal Protection Equipment in communities we serve, I&M is donating 10,000 masks and 10,000 individual nitrile gloves from our inventory to health-care workers and first responders throughout the areas we serve in Indiana and Michigan. The mask is the much-needed N95 mask, and the gloves are nitrile gloves, made from a synthetic rubber.
The American Electric Power Foundation is donating $1.5 million in emergency funds to support basic human needs and help address the hardships faced by customers and communities. Of that, $240,000 will be distributed to appropriate non-profit agencies in the I&M service territory.
We have taken significant steps to keep our employees healthy to ensure we can still serve our customers. Our line workers and other critical employees are working in smaller teams, practicing physical distancing and taking other prevention measures recommended by the CDC. We ask our customers and all members of the public to please respect the 6-foot distance from our workers for their safety and the safety of the community.
All employees who can are working from home to help prevent the spread of the virus – and that includes me.
Because we know that many of our customers are facing unusual financial hardships, we have temporarily suspended all service disconnections for non-payment. All customers will ultimately be responsible for paying their bill, and we urge them to try to keep their accounts current. If a customer is going to have trouble paying their bill, please contact us by phone or through Facebook or Twitter to discuss payment options.
We urge everyone to continue following the guidelines issued by the CDC and state and local authorities. Doing so will enable us as a community, a nation and a society to overcome this dangerous virus so we can once again thrive.