Toronto Hydro Ignores Lessons of the Ice Storm

`February 6TH, 1998 Toronto Star  “Letter Of The Day”

Toronto Hydro ignores lessons of the ice storm

I was part of a Toronto Hydro line crew that went to the Winchester/Cornwall area to help out in the ice storm. You had to see the damage to believe it. It was hard work over long days, but it was very gratifying to be able to restore power and personally help so many people.

It was plain for all to see that the downsizing of Ontario Hydro left the population without the trained people, trucks and equipment to handle the situation.

This downsizing, along with the obvious failure to maintain the system made a bad situation much worse.

We found that the training, trucks, tools and equipment that we took for granted were excellent and we were able to handle any situation. The whole experience was a huge morale boost for my crew. We heard accolades from everyone including our own management. We returned home feeling exhilarated and very happy about what we had accomplished, only to be crushed by the announcement that Toronto Hydro was downsizing again, and another exit package was being mailed to our homes. Why are skilled, experience people being thrown away forever?

Toronto Hydro apparently has failed to learn that having a well maintained system and a well trained, well equipped workforce would help minimize the damage and give the utility the ability to act quickly to restore power after a storm, because it’s not a matter of if and ice storm will happen here, it’s a matter of when.

Paul Kahnert
Overhead Line Foreperson