I am writing to extend my sincere thanks to your readers and all ATCO Electric customers for their patience, understanding and words of encouragement between Jan. 15 and Jan. 18 as ATCO Electric crews worked to restore power to customers after the severe wind storms.
Extreme weather conditions are a fact of life in Alberta, but this was an unprecedented situation for our crews and our customers. The widespread, extended storm, with winds in excess of 120 km/h in some locations, downed power lines and damaged structures across northern and east-central Alberta, affecting almost 14,000 of our customers. As local crews responded to immediate emergency situations, a co-ordinated response was simultaneously launched across the province to manage outage restoration and keep customers and the public informed. At the peak of activity, we had between 65 and 75 crews working at locations across our service area to restore power as quickly and safely as possible.
The loss of electrical service, especially for extended periods, can have significant personal and business consequences for our customers. We understand that and organized our resources to allow for recovery work to occur virtually around the clock, while still keeping our No. 1 focus on safety for our people and the public.
It was very gratifying to see the strong public support for our crews and support people as they responded. We shared the extent of the damage and our restoration progress through a wide variety of communication channels and in turn heard many words of support and communication from our customers and the public. Those warm words were greatly appreciated by all of our people — especially those on the front lines restoring our system. So thanks to all of you who took the time to contact us.
Power was restored to most locations by midday Jan. 16, with the final few sites back on Saturday, Jan. 18. Due to the extent of the damage in some locations, we made temporary repairs to get the power back quickly and will complete the permanent repair work over the next couple of weeks.
It was a challenging couple of days for many people, but we are proud to be part of a caring community that understands and supports the effort required to triumph over such challenging circumstances.
R.L. (Bobbi) Lambright
ATCO Electric Distribution Division