Insights > Silver Linings: Not All of 2020 was Under a Storm Cloud
Silver Linings: Not All of 2020 was Under a Storm Cloud
The year 2020 will live in infamy thanks to the many storms, both literal and figurative, that we’ve all had to weather. A pandemic, social injustices, political divisiveness and natural disasters, including a record-breaking hurricane season, can easily overshadow even the best of times. But it’s important not to let trauma cloud our memories and to look for the bright spots in 2020 as we hope for a better year ahead. In that spirit, here are our favorite memories and accomplishments of 2020.
The pandemic is not just a health crisis—it has dealt an economic blow to the country and to many Mississippians, who found themselves out of work or earning less. To help struggling customers, we worked with the Mississippi Public Service Commission to implement an enhanced Customer Assistance Plan with new flexible options to extend time to pay.
We also launched the $385,000 Entergy Mississippi Relief Fund to support Mississippi food banks and non-profit organizations. And we gave away 70,000 energy-efficiency lightbulbs that were packed in food boxes destined for struggling Mississippians. The bulbs help customers lower their energy use and in turn save money on their power bills.
Extra Table, one of 15 nonprofits that received a share of more than $385,000 in grants from Entergy Mississippi as part of the company’s Mississippi Relief Fund, has rescued tons of food and distributed it to food pantries throughout the state during the pandemic.
During the hottest months of the year, June through September, we dropped rates by nearly $10 for the typical residential customer using 1,000 kilowatts per month.
To make it easier to do business with us, we replaced MyAccountOnline with myEntergy, an easier-to-use. And we launched a new-and-improved free Entergy app.
To help small businesses, we created a hub of resources to connect owners to information, tools and opportunities that could help them during the COVID-19 pandemic.
We are proud to have helped recruit 15 new economic development projects to our service area this year resulting in more than 2,200 new jobs and $650 million in new capital investments in Mississippi. These included a new Amazon facility in Madison County, AWG in DeSoto County, Vicksburg Forest Products and All-Star Recovery in Natchez. Our efforts earned us recognition as a Top U.S. Utility in Economic Development for the 13th consecutive year and a Golden Shovel award from Site Selection magazine.
We awarded more than $100,000 in Excellerator Grants to Mississippi communities to help them stand out in the economic development arena, and we qualified three industrial sites in Warren, Rankin and Washington counties, bringing the number of qualified sites in our service area to 10.
The year 2020 marked the 20th anniversary of Entergy’s low-income initiatives. Through our charitable giving, Entergy and our shareholders awarded more than $1.3 million to some 200 Mississippi groups. These grants provided funding and support for initiatives ranging from education and workforce development, to poverty solutions, the arts and community improvement efforts.
It was a record-breaking storm season, and the pandemic added to the challenges of safe restorations as our employees had to work under COVID-19 protocols. They rose to the occasion, though, working through three severe storms in two weeks in April and preparing for and/or responding to six named storms: Cristobal, Marco, Laura, Sally, Delta and Zeta.
Once again, we hosted Super Tax Day and opened VITA sites across our service area so our employee volunteers could provide qualified customers with free tax preparation assistance and help determine their eligibility for the Earned Income Tax Credit. Since 2009, Entergy’s Super Tax Day program has helped return nearly $65 million to more than 29,000 Mississippi residents.
Crews worked day and night throughout the year to safely restore power for customers.
Eight Mississippi high-school seniors were this year’s recipients of Entergy Community Power Scholarships. Each year, Entergy awards $5,000 scholarships to dependents of employees in recognition of their community service and academic success. Judging from their accomplishments, Mississippi’s future looks bright!
Our employees continued to come up with innovative new ways to serve customers. One of the more notable programs launched this year was Power Through, a pilot program for Entergy Mississippi’s commercial and industrial customers that uses Entergy-owned back-up generators to stop power interruptions. While generators are not a new solution, the way in which Entergy and customers use them is. Entergy has found a way to make back-up power benefit both the customer and the community.
Another bright idea was when an employee found a way to keep his fellow workers healthy during a pandemic while helping a hard-hit local business keep its workers employed. Dillon Allen’s efforts ultimately led to Goodness & Mercy Hand Sanitizer, a new product by Cathead Distillery.
Finally, our own president and CEO, Haley Fisackerly, played an instrumental role in helping push for a new state flag.
As Entergy Mississippi looks to 2021, we see even more ways we can help Mississippi in its recovery from a tough year. They include:
- Working to move up our grid modernization investments to continue to help spur Mississippi’s economic recovery while keeping rates low
- Expanding the Grand Gulf Nuclear Station’s role in area workforce training and job creation
- Beginning construction on one of Mississippi’s largest solar projects in the Mississippi Delta
- Working on more ways to use our electrical infrastructure and right-of-way to further expand rural broadband access for Mississippians.
Entergy Mississippi has continued installing advanced meters throughout our service area.
In short, the men and women of Entergy are looking ahead to 2021 with optimism, and we hope you are, too. There is always hope on the horizon…a vaccine, political and racial harmony, sunny days and a better Mississippi. We hope you and yours have a safe, healthy and happy 2021.