Guest column: Hydro workers deserve our appreciation

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By predisposition, I was never a fan of Ontario Hydro One or its local clones – or even something called ELK.

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Like many, I have often been shocked by Hydro’s “corporate” political attitude, which essentially suggests that the “corporation” has a much better idea of ​​public need than the public.

Companies often outperform taxpayers’ preferences.

The result of this leads to decisions to build new transmission lines more or less in line with the corporate perception of public interest. For example, providing electrical power to new and expanding industries in the Windsor region.

It is important, of course, but the omnipotent corporation has to include the installation of gigantic hydroelectric transmission towers that offend the eyes and the mind.

These poles now forest large areas of southwestern Essex County, near, for example, the Colisanti Tropical Garden. I recognize that these repulsive poles bring hydropower into an ever-growing greenhouse industry. I admit that the industry serves employment in our region well.

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And, perhaps most importantly, it meets the growing Canadian need for food.

Arguably, the greenhouse industry is future-oriented – especially during winter for us food-loving Canadians.

However, there is also a side of Hydro One that deserves recognition. Hydro One workers. People who regularly may be asked to risk life and limb to ensure that we continue to enjoy a comfortable life.

On a recent morning, I was indulging in a mug of Pelee Blend coffee (from Windsor’s Colonial Coffee), nibbling on my morning toast, and reading my almost-daily Windsor Star. Life was normal.

Suddenly, a loud bang and lights went out. I initially thought it was another one of those very frequent brief hydrodynamic blips that throw computers and other electronics into disarray.

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I thought maybe our city office might have an answer as to why the power outages, but they suggested I call Hydro One. I did and got a quick response.

“No, we have no reports of power outages in your neighborhood,” I was told.

But within an hour a Hydro One truck showed up with two pleasant technicians examining and testing a green 16,000 volt transformer box hidden among bushes on one side of our garden.

Impressive and dangerous work I was told as I went out to visit them on the spot. This green box apparently houses a massive electricity intake that has been split and sent to several neighboring houses.

“What happened?” I asked. “I’m not sure yet, but we’ll find out.”

The two technicians were testing all the transformers on our short street. So they said they would turn the electricity back on to isolate the problem.

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Standing on the road, I was really surprised when under my feet a massive explosion occurred and the transformer gave a loud, dying groan.

When they returned, one of them said: “it looks like a short in the underground cable”.

And so, over the next 11 hours, five trucks showed up, including a soil-sucking truck and eight additional workers who worked tracking and splicing the cable.

And even with the rain falling, they built a tent so they could complete the task of re-lighting our lives.

In a huge hole, two linemen did whatever it took to splice this 16,000 volt line. Meanwhile, another truck unloaded sandbags to refill the huge hole.

Hydro One’s skilled employees were impressive.

Everyone seemed to have a clear role and knew how to fulfill that role. The line in the hole was more than a meter deep.

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Then, surprisingly, just under 11 hours without power, our lights came back on.

The next morning, another two-person team arrived to restore and sow grass.

The only blemish on the Hydro One’s performance was a pile of bushes cut to access the underground cable. It took a week for this to go away – only due to our municipal works department and not Hydro One.

However, I would like to thank all those who identified a serious problem, organized essential equipment and fulfilled their promise to turn the lights back on by 22:00.

They fully delivered an hour early and thus saved our sails for next time.

A safety hat tip for Hydro One employees.

Lloyd Brown-John is professor emeritus of political science at the University of Windsor. He can be contacted at [email protected]


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