On behalf of the Canadian Electricity Association (CEA) and its members, I would like to thank the thousands of utility workers who have demonstrated unwavering dedication in restoring power to customers affected by extreme weather events across Canada over the past month.
Severe winter storms, freezing rain, heavy snow, and extreme cold have recently caused extensive damage to power systems and electricity infrastructure in many provinces and left hundreds of thousands of customers without power. Yet utility crews and employees have worked around the clock to clear and repair damaged power lines and turn the lights back on.
Take for example the ice storm that hit southern Ontario on December 21, 2013, leaving more than 450,000 customers in the dark. Toronto Hydro crews worked 24/7 for 13 consecutive days to restore power. 1,452 Toronto Hydro employees worked through their holidays to bring their customers back on line, 75% of whom had the lights back on in the first 48 hours. Similarly, Hydro One had more than 1,400 people working on the restoration effort at the same time.
That same storm continued on, moving further east, bringing inclement weather to parts of the Maritimes and knocking out power to 170,000 New Brunswick Power customers. 264 NB Power crews, in addition to hundreds of employees, worked tirelessly over the holiday period to restore power.
The utilities affected also received mutual assistance from neighbouring utilities, private contractors, and tree trimming companies, whose workers also contributed to relief efforts.
As a resident of Toronto, I witnessed first-hand the incredible heart and persistence of utility crews who worked to restore power as safely and expeditiously as possible. I wish to commend them, and all other utility workers and employees across the country, for their assistance and their continued hard work and dedication.
Every province has experienced extreme weather over the past month. Utility workers across Canada—from line maintainers, foresters, technicians, helicopter crews, call centre agents, grid control operators, and support staff—have demonstrated a steadfast commitment to their customers. They have stepped up to the challenge regardless of the weather or the time of year, without question—that is customer service.
A sincere thank you to them for a job well done.
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