Over the last few weeks, the situation regarding COVID-19 has escalated. How is the electrical industry dealing with the coronavirus pandemic?
There is currently no specific treatment for coronavirus, so if you are showing any of the symptoms, you will need to stay in isolation, away from other people, until you have recovered.
The latest advice is that you should stay at home for 14 days if you have either a high temperature or a new, continuous cough.
While those who work in offices or similar environments can work from home, tradespeople obviously have to be out and about to continue working, which can pose problems. How has the industry reacted to the situation?
Thursday 2 April
Electric Center comes up with the goods
Another delivery made for emergency supplies this morning. Goods arrived with us at 10am from our suppliers, delivered…
Wednesday 1 April
Martin Lewis tweets…
CONFIRMED: The ability to carry over unused annual leave for up to 2yrs due to working during Covid-19 is for all workers not just key workers…
'Yes it’s for everyone; technically any firm affected by Covid, but there aren’t many people that doesn’t apply to right now.'
— Martin Lewis (@MartinSLewis) April 1, 2020
Gira UK staying available
Gira is ensuring its UK technical support team remains available on a remote basis from Monday to Friday, between 8am and 6pm.
UK Technical Support: email: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0203 936 8095.
The Gira supply chain is also business-as-usual, so customers can still place new orders or discuss current sales orders by contacting Gira Germany below:
Mark Booth (pictured below), Managing Director of Gira UK, said: “Our technical support team is hugely experienced and is here to help with any queries. And our office systems will redirect any requests to our UK representatives automatically.”
Tuesday 31 March
Another successful virtual lesson delivered this morning by the Construction Team, ensuing our students are still able to continue their studies from home. Here is Electrical tutor Phil Redgrave in action complete with his own visual aids!💡 🔧 💻@kirkleescollege @sparksmagazine pic.twitter.com/hCBL6p66U8
— Kirklees College Construction (@Construction_KC) March 31, 2020
The NICEIC has announced a number of changes in response to the Coronavirus pandemic.
- Registered contractors currently paying via monthly installments have the option to defer fee payments for three months.
- Contractors who are due annual assessments will have the option to undertake sessions remotely, utilising video conferencing technology, or reschedule free of charge.
- All NICEIC training courses are postponed until 1 June, and the planned LIVE SOUTH conference has been cancelled.
More information on the NICEIC website.
Monday 30 March
The Mental Health Foundation has compiled advice to help you, your friends and your family to look after your mental health.
If you work in the #RMI or #HomeImprovement sector, please complete @TheNHIC short survey to help us understand this impact of #COVID19. Aggregated results will be shared with partners & stakeholders. https://t.co/tyr6LfQWax #covid19 #corona #homeowner #strongertogether
— NAPIT (@OfficialNAPIT) March 30, 2020
Thursday 26 March
We are still open for trading throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
Building services firms are helping to save lives, says BEIS
The building engineering industry is providing a critical service by ensuring buildings can continue to operate as normal and support essential operations such as the NHS and food suppliers in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic, according to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).
The important status of engineers who maintain the reliability of heating, hot water, ventilation, electrical and building management systems during the coronavirus crisis was confirmed by a BEIS official during a webinar hosted by the Building Engineering Services Association (BESA).
BEIS confirmed that building maintenance should continue as normal, subject to compliance with Public Health England guidance, the government’s social distancing policy and the site operating guidance published by the Construction Leadership Council.
Red Arrow ensures essential items are well stocked
Red Arrow Electrical Distributors says it is taking additional measures to ensure stock levels are replenished at a higher rate than usual, and remain committed to the safest possible handling of products.
They added: “We are also following the Government guidelines and NHS advice, and have reduced our on-site workforce to a minimal number that allows us to process the demand for essential items. These include site lighting, emergency lighting and other essential lighting products, plus our Kite Mark range of smoke, heat and Carbon Monoxide alarms, distribution boards and circuit breakers.”
Super Rod launches survey
The survey aims to find out more about the challenges and actions electricians are taking and the support they need now and in the future. It is anonymous and should take no more than five minutes to complete. They are hoping to use the findings to ensure our industry’s voice is heard and we are not forgotten. Click here to enter.
Working during the Coronavirus crisis quiz
Try our quiz, based on the latest advice from the HHIC. Full advice and much more information here.
Wednesday 25 March
We asked electricians to show us what they’ve been getting up to now they have more time on their hands, and they didn’t disappoint! Check out the highlights on our #SelfIsolationInspiration page and get involved yourself on Instagram.
Ansell Lighting has provided its staff with a fruit and veg package.
— Mike Drennan (@Marcos_top_4) March 24, 2020
Electrical lecturers including those at MIT Skills are getting used to new ways of working and teaching.
View this post on Instagram
Our #Electrical #tutor Steve is now using Zoom to deliver his lesson #online. Our priority is to ensure our learners excel in their apprenticeship! #SelfIsolation can’t stop us from doing what we do best. #educationmatters #Constructionuk #coronavirusuk #LockdownNow #Sparky
Selco closes branches
Branches of Selco Builders Warehouse will close for the next three weeks due to the COVID-19 situation.
Chief Executive Howard Luft said the welfare of customers, colleagues and suppliers was paramount. He added: “We are living in unprecedented times and I’m certain this is the right and responsible decision for everyone connected with Selco.”
Any customers with outstanding delivery or Click & Collect orders will be contacted by their local branch.
Tuesday 24 March
Emergency callouts can still be undertaken, but anything which can be put off should be, says Michael Gove.
Michael Gove clarifies that plumbers can continue to provide services for emergency callouts where there are safety concerns. Construction workers can work onsite but must follow social distancing rules. Plumbers are Key Workers for emergency work. pic.twitter.com/M6VNKfmM4a
— APHC (@APHC_UK) March 24, 2020
Over nine in 10 engineering services businesses (93 per cent) say they are ‘concerned or very concerned’ about the impact of coronavirus on their business over the next six months, according to initial responses to a major new ECA / BESA / SELECT engineering services survey.
Following last night’s updated guidelines issued by the Prime Minister, Selco Builders Warehouse has closed its branches today and is seeking clarification to find out whether it will be allowed to continue to operate during this period.
We are seeking clarification from the government as to whether we can continue to operate in a safe and responsible manner over the coming days and weeks. We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause. Please visit our website for full update https://t.co/z2izKf7fER
(2 of 2)
— Selco Builders Warehouse (@SelcoBW) March 24, 2020
The Building Engineering Services Association (BESA) has joined calls for site managers to show leniency towards staff with expired SKILLcards, because operatives are unable to sit their tests due to the closure of testing centres last Friday to help stem the outbreak of COVID-19.
Monday 23rd March
BEW Electrical has closed all of its trade counters. The company has issued the following update:
- With immediate effect all our trade counters are to close, however, the branch will still be staffed.
- Please telephone or email your requests and we can arrange a collection or delivery service.
- For Non-Account Customers, we will be accepting cashless transactions only
Friday 20th March
SPARKS has launched the #SelfIsolationInspiration challenge – here’s Rick from EGTE’s attempt. Get involved on social media!
💡 It's the SPARKS #SelfIsolationInspiration challenge! 💡
We want to spread the positivity, so we want you to show us what you're doing that were putting off or didn't have time to do before!
🗣Tell us or show us what you've done
👉Nominate 3 others to do the same! https://t.co/3YnbFV5Luw
— SPARKS Magazine⚡️ (@sparksmagazine) March 19, 2020
The ECA has made its coronavirus advice available to all, online.
ECA has now made its advice on #coronavirus open access. Link below provides expert information and advice on commercial, employment and health management issues, plus content on other news and updates. https://t.co/EamcJeBUW7
— Paul Reeve (@ECApaulreeve) March 20, 2020
NAPIT has postponed its events which were due to take place between March and June.
Due to the recent news with the development of COVID-19 NAPIT have made the decision for the safety of our members, visitors and staff to postpone the EXPO events taking place between March & June. Find out more here: https://t.co/q65PSaSOys pic.twitter.com/kbWioETvw9
— NAPIT (@OfficialNAPIT) March 20, 2020
BEW Electrical Distributors says its business as usual for them and that all 22 branches remain open, albeit with the necessary precautions in place.
The government has classified electricians working in utilities, communication and financial services as key workers. As such, the children of these workers will be prioritised for education provision.
The government’s advice states that parents whose work is critical to the COVID-19 response also include those in working in the oil, gas, and water sectors, including sewerage.
The government’s advice stresses that every child who can be safely cared for at home should be, but that key workers who cannot keep their child safe at home will be prioritised for education provision.
The government’s ‘Guidance for schools, colleges and local authorities on maintaining educational provision’ can be read here.
Megger says its offices remain open and sales teams that can’t do physical visits will be available on the phone or email. It will also be putting out a new series of webinars as it ramps up its technical support.
Full statement here:
— Megger UK (@MeggerUK) March 20, 2020
Thursday 19th March:
It’s business as usual for Electric Center and CEF, albeit with additional safety measures put in place.
We know that many of you are worried about the spread of the Coronavirus (Covid-19). We’d like to share some important information to keep you up to date with our operations. pic.twitter.com/Jby6WSS6zM
— Electric Center (@ElectricCenter_) March 17, 2020
As the COVID-19 coronavirus situation continues to develop, we have outlined the actions we are taking to ensure our normal business activities continue. The safety of our customers, colleagues and suppliers remains our highest priority. Stay safe. https://t.co/xyhbLqTmY3 pic.twitter.com/vqGdQqlPaj
— CEF (@cefonline) March 19, 2020
The London CEDIA Tech Summit planned for 31 March has been postponed. It will now take place on 4 September 2020. The venue remains the same – The Business Design Centre, Islington. More information at www.cedia.co.uk.
Wednesday 18th March:
York College has announced that it will be suspending face-to-face teaching from today at 3pm.
— YorkElectricalDept⚡ (@ElectricalYork) March 18, 2020
Connexbox says it’s ‘business as usual’ and you can still shop with them online.
— CONNEXBOX (@WAGOBOX) March 18, 2020
Tuesday 17th March:
A survey has been launched by BESA, ECA and SELECT to get an early picture of the effect of Coronavirus on the engineering services sector and its supply chain.
The survey can be completed here: www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/2CWB95Z
ESA Director of CSR Paul Reeve said: “Coronavirus is a fast-moving situation with significant social and economic implications. It is vital we understand the key problems being faced by companies and how to both represent and practically support our industry in what is fast becoming a changeable and challenging near future.”
The survey, which is completely confidential, should take around three minutes to complete. The initial deadline for responses is Friday 27th March at 4pm.
The survey comes as Build UK and CECA have stated that construction ‘sites may have to close’ due to coronavirus. The two bodies will be asking the Government to ‘identify safety critical work on the infrastructure network that is essential and must be continued’.
ECA is monitoring the situation closely and has created an employer advice portal at www.eca.co.uk/coronavirus. All updates and advice about the Coronavirus from BESA are available at https://www.thebesa.com/
Monday 16th March:
Big Wipes says it has received many enquiries, with its product being used by many tradespeople on the job – here’s what they had to say.
As we are being inundated with queries in respect of #coronavirus, please see a summary below or follow the link to our website https://t.co/EWTkrNIQo4. Using Big Wipes will NOT kill the corona virus but your clean hands will help you avoid catching and spreading it. pic.twitter.com/T48C60dl2k
— BigWipes (@BigWipes) March 11, 2020
Electricians and other tradespeople are urging customers not to organise tradespeople coming into their homes while they are isolating.
Just another note if you are in the ‘at risk’ category please contact us immediately to reschedule, your safety is important to us.#electrician #dalemontagueelectricalltd #covid19 #coronavirus @ Chesterfield https://t.co/AWQgWewE4P
— Dale Montague Electrical ltd (@DMEelectrical) March 16, 2020
I hope nobody deceives a trade by claiming to be virus free to get a job done. Our next call could be to a vulnerable person and we could unknowingly pass it on.
We have a duty of care to our customers but they need to be up front with us too.#coronavirus @bbc5live @StephenNolan
— P B Plumber (@pbplumber) March 15, 2020
Please can you return the courtesy to us.
If you are self-isolating, please can you not see it as a convenient time to call us (or any other tradesperson) to visit, as you're at home.
We have people we want to protect from the virus too.
Keep safe and look after each other.
— RMS Electrical Services (@RMS_Electrical) March 15, 2020
KEW Electrical has postponed branch events until they can ‘review the situation’.
We're business as usual at KEW branches, but please know that branch events are being temporarily postponed – we are doing this to ensure KEW are able to continue serving our customers 👌 Speak with your local branch 👉 https://t.co/wPnmJFvHuc #weareopen #coronavirus #KEWelec pic.twitter.com/eESFxKIlHF
— Kew Electrical (@kewelectrical) March 16, 2020
Some electricians are making plans should a nationwide lockdown be enforced.
First couple of days, just lounge about watching TV I guess. Then paperwork, that CPD idea sounds good… dunno, how long am I locked up for?
— Switchlec (@switchlec) March 16, 2020
Now booking jobs in 7 days a week to help soften the impending blow of loss of work in the coming weeks/months ahead. This is necessary for me being self employed as everyday worked from now buffers every day lost in future. Needs must. All subject of course to Gov Advice. 🦾 pic.twitter.com/ty5ogmLmWO
— Lee Ward MICWCI EngTech MIET (@pureelectricuk) March 15, 2020
The Rainy Day Trust is offering its support for tradespeople throughout the period.
The @RAINYDAYTRUST will be running normally throughout to support people working in the #HomeImprovement industry inc #DIY, tradesmen, #housewares, #buildersmerchants – the benefit of being a small and agile #charity. Ring 0203 192 0486 for help @TradesTalk @BHETA_trade https://t.co/TNCJT3ajg1
— Rainy Day Trust (@RAINYDAYTRUST) March 13, 2020
But ultimately, morale is high among the trades!
💥Have a good one Sir Tim!! Am currently offering a free toilet roll with every CU upgrade. Limited to 5 per customer though…..hurry while stocks last!! 😬💥 pic.twitter.com/iEyralbS7S
— Karen Boom (@Shes_ElectricUK) March 13, 2020
If you are a contracted worker you will be entitled to statutory sick pay from day one of your self-isolation instead of day four – and you can self-certify for the first seven days without the need for a medical note.
If you are self-employed you will be eligible to apply for Universal Credit for the period of your self-isolation.
The government has put measures in place to support small and medium-sized businesses during the pandemic – find out more here.
Mike Hughes, Schneider Electric’s UK & Ireland President, said: “Measures to limit the impact of Coronavirus on business and the economy general are extremely welcome and provide reassurance the new government is pro-business.”
For up-to-date information about the coronavirus, including how to avoid catching it or spreading it, head to the NHS website here.