The NextEra Energy family of companies is committing $1.5 million toward emergency assistance during the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 virus.
Florida Power & Light (FPL) and Gulf Power Company are subsidiaries of NextEra Energy. Both FPL and Gulf Power have already agreed to suspend electric service disconnections as the economy slows due to widespread social distancing efforts.
Now, NextEra Energy Chairman and CEO Jim Robo says the company will be allotting $1.5 million to assist those affected by the virus.
“As the world’s largest clean energy company, we’ve responded to countless crises over the years and understand how vital it is to be there for our communities when we’re needed the most — and COVID-19 is no different,” Robo said.
“We are steadfastly committed to doing everything we can to assist the most vulnerable in our communities as we all work through this unsettling and difficult time together. Simply put, it’s the right thing to do and I strongly encourage other businesses to join this effort.”
FPL has also already donated $100,000 to the Community Foundation for Palm Beach and Martin Counties. The company is the largest electric utility in Florida, while Gulf Power Company serves more than 470,000 customers in northwest Florida.
The death rate for those who test positive for the virus has sat above 3%. However, those calculations do not include individuals who may have contracted the virus, but are asymptomatic and thus survive without incident. Including those individuals would lower the death rate, but it’s unclear how many such individuals there are worldwide.
Most who do show symptoms develop a fever or cough and may have trouble breathing, though they do recover. But older individuals and those with underlying health risks are susceptible to developing more severe symptoms.
And without a vaccine or reliable way to treat those symptoms, health officials have urged Americans to cut down on social interactions until the virus’s spread is under control.
But those curtailments have already started to lead to a slowdown at several businesses. With the economy expected to slow further, millions will be at risk of layoffs or reduced hours.