Isolation during Corona – Cut off from the Outside World

53 Wien Energie employees are temporarily relocating to power station sites to ensure that people still have access to light, heating and hot water.

The population of Vienna will still have guaranteed access to power and heating even during the coronavirus outbreak. Wien Energie has already been preparing for this situation for weeks. Isolation stations have been prepared at the waste incineration plants at Spittelau, Flötzersteig and Simmeringer Haide, as well as at the Simmering power station.

For Vienna: voluntary separation from families

53 employees have voluntarily declared their willingness to live away from their families for the coming weeks in the interests of Vienna’s inhabitants. They have relocated directly to the sites where Wien Energie operates its facilities. While there, they will be cut off from the world outside in order to avoid any possible infection. They all underwent medical checks before entering isolation.

All angles covered

The preparations for the isolation were made swiftly. “As an energy provider, we are well prepared for crisis situations. This is nonetheless a special situation: In just a few days, fully-fitted portable buildings were set up at our power stations and waste incineration sites, provisional power station control centres installed or meeting rooms converted into bedrooms,” says Alexander Kirchner, Head of Operations at Wien Energie and responsible for all production facilities. “Beds have been built; kitchen equipment and washing machines installed. One of the shift workers has even taken over cooking for his colleagues. We are doing everything we can to take care of these personnel on site.” During these challenging times, Wien Energie is also offering all personnel occupational psychological support.

Keeping Vienna ticking over

These isolated employees have a particularly responsible role to play. They are in effect the guarantee ensuring that all power stations and waste incineration plants continue operating even if the outbreak spreads further. “It was certainly a very difficult decision to reach to separate yourself from your loved ones for an indefinite period of time,” explains Steven Schacher. This 24-year-old did his traineeship at Wien Energie and has been working shifts for the past two years. He and five of his colleagues are now living until further notice on the site of the Flötzersteig waste incineration plant. “Our job is to make sure that the facilities keep operating around the clock and keep supplying Vienna with power and heat.”

These employees jump in when no-one else can: Their tasks range from controlling the facilities to maintenance work and – in as far as necessary – minor repairs. “We are a tried-and-tested team. But this is certainly a challenge that I have never experienced before in day-to-day working life,” says shift leader Karl Ondracek (55), who has already been working at Wien Energie for 35 years. Since this week he has been permanently based at the Simmering power station. His wife and kids can be proud of him. “It goes without saying for me that I should take on this special task. We will master this challenge together.
The regular shift work is still ongoing in addition. The duty rotas have been revised under the crisis management plan so that there is a contact-free handover from shift to shift.

Customer care team still reachable

We are still here for you, so please stay at home for us. This is the motto behind the emergency customer care services currently being offered by Wien Energie. The majority of Wien Energie’s employees are currently working from home. The customer service centres in Spittelau and Guntramsdorf are closed. Our customer service team can still be reached via the Wien Energie website and by telephone. The associated technology was swiftly modified so that nearly all customer enquiries and issues can be processed from employees’ home offices. Construction work and call outs are only taking place when they are essential to safeguard security of supply.