October 1, 2020

SPP's COVID-19 Response - Oct. 1, 2020

SPP stakeholders –

Good afternoon! I hope all of you are doing well and staying safe. I’m writing to share the latest news regarding our pandemic response plans, which continue to evolve, and to provide a few updates from SPP’s recent board meeting.

We previously reported our plans to allow some staff to return to our offices beginning Oct. 5. However, our officers decided last week to postpone the first step of our return plan until at least Jan. 4, 2021. It wasn’t an easy choice. Like many of you, we’re eager to get back to normal, but case numbers are still high across our state and in Little Rock, so we continue to act with an abundance of caution. Especially given our office’s open floor plan, which could exacerbate the effects of exposure should any of our staff become sick, we’re doing all we can to safeguard the health of our employees and our ability to serve you.

Operationally, after a period of below-average load early in the pandemic, our system has largely returned to pre-pandemic levels. While some specific areas in our region are still experiencing below-average load, on the aggregate, our system has seen average or above-average load consistently since late June.

In addition to load, we’ve also closely monitored generator outage trends over the course of the pandemic. We identified early on that the pandemic had led many generator owners to delay planned maintenance that, in turn, could contribute to a subsequent increase in unplanned outages if equipment failed. Fortunately, the number of forced outages among our generation fleet has been consistent with prior years, and we’ve had sufficient capacity and reserves to reliably serve demand throughout the summer and as we head into the fall season when normal maintenance activities are expected to resume.

Of course, we haven’t let the pandemic prevent us from conducting business or even from advancing important initiatives. We’re not just keeping the lights on, we’re still showing our dedication to growth, innovation and continuous improvement. In a special meeting of our Board of Directors and Members Committee on Sept. 22, our board took several actions that will bring significant value to our stakeholders in the near future. Read more in our latest press release.

Take care,

Lanny Nickell
SPP Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer

Derek Wingfield, 501-614-3394, dwingfield@spp.org