Drax: Operations continue during COVID-19 pandemic

By Erin Voegele | March 25, 2020

Will Gardiner, CEO of Drax Group, released a statement on March 25 explaining how Drax and its employees are working to ensure the U.K. is supplied with the power it needs during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“At Drax, we take our responsibility as a member of critical national infrastructure and as an essential service provider very seriously,” he said. “We are committed to maintaining a continuous, stable and reliable electricity supply for millions of homes and businesses in the U.K.”

Gardiner thanked Drax and employees, contractors, supply chain workers and their families for their support and hard work during these difficult and uncertain times. “Our employees’ health and wellbeing are vital, and we’re working hard to ensure we are supporting them with both their physical and mental health, whether working at home or at one of our sites,” he said, noting all of Drax’s sites have implemented strategies to reduce the chance of spreading the virus and have operational plans in the place to ensure power continues to be delivered to the grid.

At Drax Power Station, the company has had as many employees as possible work from home. The company has also arranged for the separation of key operational teams and employees so that they are physically distanced from each other, Gardiner said. Strick controls have been implemented for visitors, contractors and suppliers. “Our resilience teams are working well and we have contingency plans in place to manage risks associated with colleague absences,” Gardiner added.

The company is also working closely with wood pellet suppliers and rail and port infrastructure groups to ensure continuity in the supply of biomass fuel. “Our three wood pellet manufacturing plans are running well, with U.S. authorities classifying our employees as key workers,” Gardiner said. “The same is the case for our rail freight partners on both sides of the Atlantic. In the U.K., GB Railfreight recognizes the strategic importance of biomass deliveries to Drax Power Station.”

Gardiner said the Drax executive committee is meeting regularly via video conference to discuss contingency plans as the situation changes. The company is also working closely with the U.K., U.S. state and Canadian governments, National Grid and Ofgem, he said.

“This is an unprecedented time for the UK and the world," Gardiner said. "Rest assured that Drax’s critical national infrastructure and essential service operations, as well as its employees, are working hard 24/7 to make sure individuals, families, businesses and organizations are supplied with the vital electricity needed to keep the country running."

A full copy of Gardiner’s statement is available on the Drax website.