Help on the way south

Hy­dro One work­ers dis­patched to as­sist in Florida


A team of nine Hy­dro One work­ers from Nipiss­ing were en route to Florida Tues­day to help re­store power to a com­mu­nity dev­as­tated by hur­ri­cane Irma.

Marc Cle­ment, Hy­dro One dis­tri­bu­tion line su­per­vi­sor in the North­east Zone ,spoke to The Nugget dur­ing a brief stop in Cleve­land.

Cle­ment and his team of nine are among 28 Hy­dro One work­ers from north­east­ern On­tario and 175 from across the prov­ince be­ing sent to as­sist util­ity work­ers over­whelmed by power out­ages.

“We are headed there to help re­build a sys­tem that has been dec­i­mated,” Cle­ment said.

“Any type of work that needs to be done, we’ll be there to help, whether it’s forestry is­sues like clear­ing trees and de­bris or put­ting up poles,” he said, adding crews ex­pect to be there for at least a few weeks, work­ing 16-hour days.

“I’m not sure of the ex­tent of dam­age, but some ar­eas in north­ern Florida are a mess. The work it­self is sim­i­lar, but the dif­fer­ence will be the type of wildlife we might en­counter, like spi­ders and snakes.”

In a pre­pared state­ment, Hy­dro One chief op­er­at­ing of­fi­cer Greg Ki­raly said the util­ity has a “long­stand­ing his­tory of re­spond­ing to help other com­mu­ni­ties in need.

“Hy­dro One’s highly skilled em­ploy­ees are trained to work on both trans­mis­sion and dis­tri­bu­tion sys­tems, as well as in storm and emer­gency sit­u­a­tions, mak­ing them in­cred­i­bly valu­able re­sources dur­ing a dev­as­tat­ing hur­ri­cane,” Ki­raly said.

“Ac­cess to elec­tric­ity can be a life­line in a dis­as­ter and our crews are de­ter­mined to help re­store power to the fam­i­lies and busi­nesses in Florida as quickly and safely as pos­si­ble.”

Tiziana Bac­cega Rosa, spokes­woman for Hy­dro One, said Hy­dro One work­ers are com­ing from Kenora, Ka­puskas­ing and Windsor as to not af­fect lo­cal op­er­a­tions.

She said of­ten times the pub­lic ques­tions whether their hy­dro rates will in­crease be­cause of the costs as­so­ci­ated with re­spond­ing to such dis­as­ters.

“All costs are borne by the re­quest­ing util­ity,” Bac­cega Rosa said. “We have a mu­tual-aid agree­ment with Edi­son Elec­tric Institute that was es­tab­lished in 1955. We have sent Hy­dro One work­ers to Florida sev­eral times to as­sist.”

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