New York grid workers to live ‘isolated’ at control centres

It says 37 workers have agreed to enter the ‘sequestration programme’ to keep the lights on during the coronavirus crisis

New York’s grid operator, New York Independent System Operator (NYISO), has sequestered 37 workers at control centres to keep the lights on during the coronavirus crisis.

Due to the unprecedented spread of the virus, particularly in and around New York, NYISO has determined additional steps to ensure the health and safety of NYISO employees and grid reliability.

A 37-person team of volunteers, including 31 grid operators, two managers, two facilities staff and two café workers have agreed to enter the sequestration programme, which means living 24 hours in isolation at grid’s facilities, away from family and friends.

The sequestered staff are separated between NYISO’s two facilities, the main site in East Greenbush and the alternate site in Guilderland. At each site there are two teams of operators, who work 12 hours shifts – between swifts the company makes sure the control rooms are wiped down.

Prior to entering into the sequestration programme, each individual was tested and confirmed to be negative for Covid-19 and all ‘are adhering to social distancing guidelines’.

It says trailers equipped with electricity, cooking facilities and entertainment resources were brought to each site to allow for comfortable living quarters for the sequestered staff during non-work hours.

The company says: “We do not currently have an end date for the sequestration plan. NYISO Human Resources is monitoring the sequestered employees for health and wellness and is in touch with each individual’s family to ensure they have the support and resources they need.”

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