Lessons from the outage
Published Nov. 26, 2019
To the Editor,
I am pleased to report, that after six days, Hydro One did call me back concerning the upgrade project schedule for Sunday, Nov. 24 (8 a.m. to 4 p.m.). Subsequently, I have spoken with three Hydro One employees. The results of these conversations are as follows:
The last gentleman with whom I spoke, was genuinely sympathetic, empathetic, concerned and grateful for the feedback I had given in my Letter to the Editor, (Haliburton Echo, Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2019). I was assured that the work would be completed in the allotted eight hours, if not sooner. A workforce of 100 personnel has been assigned, barring any unforeseen weather or outage emergencies. In these instances, the workforce would have to be re-assigned, and this planned outage re-scheduled.
Should there be any issues with burst pipes, I was advised to contact my insurance company, who would then contact Hydro One. Arrangements would then be dealt with in this way.
The Hydro One employee told me that organizing this large of a workforce in the summer months is not viable or possible, as these workers also have families and summer vacations. He admitted that, although this project has been planned for some months, he agreed that he was not aware of the “ripple effect” the prolonged outage, at the end of November would have on our community, regarding events planned a year in advance, nor the impact on our aging population and “shut-ins” regarding our lack of “warming centres” for those in need, and so on.
Despite consultations last week, with the hospital and some members of council, he agreed that more consultation – well in advance of major project planning, is well advised. He will be forwarding this recommendation to his superiors, in order to ensure that the specific needs of a community are fully taken into consideration, before embarking on community-wide outages in the future. (11,600+ Hydro clients were affected on Sunday). He was also surprised to learn that many residents had not received the “robo-call,” when their immediate neighbours had. He agreed that this was another area which would require improvement in communication with all parties involved.
Overall, I found his reception to the concerns raised, and his responses to them, to be open and fair. I felt it important to thank the members of our community for their positive responses to my letter, and to let them know that we have been heard, by those who continue to make these important decisions on our behalf.