CenterPoint Energy’s customers are at the center of everything we do, and our company’s top priorities are the health and safety of our employees.
Responding to COVID-19
CenterPoint Energy’s customers are at the center of everything we do, and our company’s top priorities are the health and safety of our employees. In response to COVID-19, we activated our Pandemic Preparedness Plan to manage the health and safety of our customers, employees and communities, while delivering safe, reliable energy and service to homes and businesses.
Our Corporate Response Plan Team, which is comprised of senior leaders across our businesses and functions, oversees our deliberate, measured response to the pandemic, including region- and position-specific plans. In response to COVID-19, we implemented enhanced safety protocols and provided personal protective equipment gear for our employees to protect both our employees and our customers when it is necessary to enter customers’ residences or facilities. We also initiated telework for many departments.
Supporting Our Employees
In March 2020, we promptly:
- Activated our Pandemic Preparedness Plan,
- Scheduled COVID-19 Incident Command System sessions,
- Engaged our Corporate Response Plan Team,
- Stayed closely connected to updates from the World Health Organization and Centers for Disease Control, and
- Worked with all regulatory agencies, government entities and emergency management organizations.
Our Safety and Human Resources departments collaborated with leaders companywide to finalize our company’s response at various escalation levels. Other focus areas included reviewing and updating departmental business continuity plans, coordinating with Facilities Management to increase cleaning in high-traffic areas, working with Supply Chain to secure materials, and continuing to work with leaders so there were no significant disruptions or impacts on our operations regarding critical personnel who manage our systems.
EQUIPPING OUR EMPLOYEES
with employees about COVID-19 updates.
Providing employees with Virtual Tools & Resources to work effectively at home.
Converted non-critical in-person learning to Virtual Learning.
Virtual Volunteering with American Red Cross, United Way and Junior Achievement, among other organizations.
Helping Employees Adapt
- To support physical and mental health and wellness, we shared self-care and stress management resources, leadership video messages on personal well-being, resources for employees using company benefits providers and Employee Assistance Program services.
- For employees who worked remotely during the pandemic, CNP University – CenterPoint Energy’s corporate university – launched new resources, including a Working Virtually course.
- Leaders and employee resource groups collaborated through virtual meetings, learning opportunities and networking events.
When conditions improved, a number of internal groups, including our Safety, Facilities Management and Corporate Security organizations, as well as our Corporate Response Plan Team, implemented a phased return-to-workplace approach for employees who were working remotely. A key step in this process was a series of workshops with our businesses and corporate functions to assess transition issues, risks and opportunities.
Offices gradually reopened using a measured approach with leadership direction, putting our workforce’s safety and well-being first. Leaders assessed situations with their team members as they developed plans for the transition that included staggered start times, alternating schedules or some team members continuing to work remotely.
CenterPoint Energy implemented additional measures to protect the safety and health of employees and contractors:
- Equipping employees with additional PPE;
- Directing field employees to attempt to resolve service issues without entering homes or businesses;
- Following social distancing guidelines and wearing PPE if entering customers’ homes, businesses and property to provide service;
- Implementing a telework approach for employees who could perform their job responsibilities remotely;
- Increasing cleaning and disinfecting frequency of facilities and vehicles;
- Leveraging technology to minimize face-to-face contact and meetings;
- Offering on-site vaccine clinics; and
- Emphasizing good hygiene, including washing and sanitizing hands.
Johnetta Hardy, Tele Sales and Service Representative – Houston
Helping Our Customers and Communities
CenterPoint Energy implemented comprehensive plans and processes to help provide safe, reliable energy delivery to electricity and natural gas customers.
- Our work crews responded to service calls, following social distancing guidelines to keep everyone safe.
- We suspended service disconnections to maintain uninterrupted energy service.
- We supported customers who needed payment assistance, arrangements or extensions during the pandemic.
- We shared energy use resources to support awareness of energy tips and programs to reduce usage.
- We maintained ongoing communication with our customers, as well as vendors and suppliers.
Our Contact Center agents have a critical role in supporting and providing a reassuring voice our electric, natural gas and Home Service Plus customers across our eight-state territory.
Julie Jackson, Senior Customer Information Representative – Mankato
to 193 NONPROFITS
in matching gifts for
employee contributions in 2020.
Committed to those who needed help the most:
- In 2020, the CenterPoint Energy Foundation contributed $1.5 million to 193 nonprofit organizations, agencies and causes committed to supporting those who have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. This amount includes up to $500,000 in matching gifts for employee contributions.
- We supported virtual community events, including a UNCF Virtual Walk/Run/Bike for Education and a virtual United Way campaign.
- We encouraged employees to explore virtual volunteer opportunities with our community partners.
CURRENTLY, parts of our pandemic plan remain in place to closely monitor COVID-19 and its variants. We remind employees to remain vigilant and keep safety top-of-mind, both at work and at home. We communicate how COVID-19 impacts our workforce and post regular dashboard updates. Consistent with our pandemic plan, for each confirmed case we immediately take all necessary steps and actions to protect our employees and contain the spread of the virus at the affected site.