Employees to Begin Living at Workplaces to Keep Water, Electric Operations Running for Riverside-Imperial Counties

"This is a sacrifice," the district's public information officer said. "They will be away from their families for three weeks."

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Nearly three dozen Imperial Irrigation District employees will live at their workplaces in Riverside and Imperial counties beginning Saturday in an attempt to keep the district's water and electrical operations up and running amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The program is aimed at keeping employees safe from COVID-19, and to insure the utility's services remain operational during the pandemic, officials announced on Wednesday.

Thirty-two employees have volunteered to work 12-hour shifts every day for 21 days, Robert Schettler, the district's public information officer, told City News Service.

A majority of the employees are hourly, Schettler said, meaning their paychecks will include time and a half and double-time payments.

No visitors are allowed throughout the duration of the program, which begins Saturday.

"This is a sacrifice," Schettler said. "They will be away from their families for three weeks."

Impacted facilities include power plants, dispatch centers and electrical operations centers.


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Employees will be fed during the program, and have access to entertainment and recreational opportunities, including television and gym equipment.

The program could be extended depending on how the coronavirus situation unfolds in the next three weeks, or if maintaining district operations require an extension, Schettler said.

District officials announced last month that electricity would not be shut off for its power customers due to non-payment during the coronavirus pandemic.

The policy, which does not wipe out debts to the district, will remain in effect until further notice, officials said.

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