Whenever, wherever, we’ll be there. For us, this isn’t just a slogan, but rather, a mindset. More than 600 employees across the province shape our story. We are immensely proud to have a team with diverse backgrounds, skills and experiences, who are passionate about keeping the lights on, no matter the weather.
On September 10, 2021, Hurricane Larry wreaked havoc on the Eastern portion of the island of Newfoundland. We experienced sustained winds of 120 km/h, with gusts reaching 175 km/h. By the next morning, approximately 50,000 customers were without power. First, we focused on emergency situations and restoring power to the largest number of customers. By the next day, more than half of our customers had their power restored. Our crews continued to work hard, bringing power back to all but 500 customers by September 13.
While Hurricane Larry left a lot of destruction in its wake, our employees met the challenge head on. Over 300 employees and contractors replaced 40 utility poles, removed a countless number of trees from the power lines during the restoration process and did it all safely.
Our workforce continued to evolve in 2021, as we welcomed new employees, said farewell to longstanding colleagues, and saw people move into new roles. We celebrated 94 service milestones in 2021, which totaled an incredible 1,575 years of combined service.
We know each employee has their own story, and we continue to be committed to a culture of openness where everyone feels safe to bring their whole selves to work. Our similarities and differences generate innovative ideas and strong results, and we value this. Together we are stronger.
Innovation is one of our core values. We are constantly looking for ways to add value, provide better service, and build resiliency with our customers top of mind. It’s about seeking new ideas and taking a second look at the effectiveness of what we do to see if we can become more efficient. We have put together a team of employees specifically to SHIFT our innovation culture. The SHIFT team is always generating ideas, propelling us into the future. This team has been a crucial part in making innovation part of our day-to-day thinking.
Throughout 2021, we continued to adapt as the COVID-19 pandemic evolved. Our employees went above and beyond, and showed their resilience as we amended our policies and procedures to ensure everyone’s health and safety. In addition, we ensured wellness and mental health supports were available. By working together, we did our very best to keep each other, our families and our communities as healthy and safe as possible.