I hope you and your loved ones are all managing as we move past what we hope is the halfway point of this extraordinary lockdown situation we find ourselves facing under COVID-19 Alert Level 4.
There is a lot of uncertainty around, but I want to reassure you that Contact Energy is continuing to operate as an essential service and lifeline utility, with an unwavering focus on looking after our customers, looking after our people, and doing right by New Zealand. We are committed to supporting the actions of the NZ Government in restricting the spread of COVID-19.
I’d like to pay tribute to all of the people who have kept New Zealand running as we have all been confined to our bubbles – a massive thank you from us all here at Contact. It is humbling to see the dedication of everyone working hard to keep New Zealand running during a very challenging period.
In particular, we acknowledge the efforts of the organisations on the frontline looking after New Zealanders, especially those in healthcare and social services. We’ve made a small contribution to this effort and are providing Women’s Refuge, Salvation Army and St John with more than $400,000 of free electricity across their sites throughout New Zealand.
We’re also working with the wider energy sector to ensure those less fortunate or under financial pressure are looked after wherever possible. We know the industry will come together, as it has before in previous crises, and put in place a range of measures to look after Kiwis.
Among the essential workers, our team at Contact has continued to operate in what we are calling the new business as usual. For many it has meant a rapid shift to working from home, and all the pressures and juggling that accompanies such a move. A big thank you to the team for their resilience and commitment.
We’ve looked after our people across our sites and offices in Hamilton, Stratford, Levin, Taupo, Whirinaki, Dunedin, Clyde, Roxburgh, Auckland and Wellington. We’ve continued to serve our customers but ensured we have limited or eliminated the risk of spreading COVID-19 through meticulous continuity and crisis planning, and ramped up hygiene and physical distancing. We know how important it is to protect our people and the wider community.
As the COVID-19 response got under way, we also reassured our 1,000 staff across New Zealand that if they needed to be home for anything pandemic related – including looking after elderly relatives or to be with their kids – we would pay 100 per cent of their salaries and not require them to take leave. It’s the right thing to do.
There is a role for Contact and the wider energy industry as New Zealand’s post-lockdown economic recovery begins. We are all seeing COVID-19’s enormous impact on the way of life of all New Zealanders and their workplaces too, from sole traders to SMEs to major industries.
We will work with Government and our customers to ensure a low-carbon energy sector helps re-energise industrial activity and stimulates new business opportunities for a more sustainable and resilient New Zealand.
For the latest information about how Contact can help, and answers to frequently asked questions, please visit our COVID-19 page. If you have non-urgent questions that are not covered here, please consider emailing us before you call, just so we can focus on helping customers having a tough time or directly impacted by COVID-19.
I hope you and your loved ones stay safe over the coming weeks. Thank you for your ongoing support for Contact.
CEO, Contact Energy