After much bravado during previous council meetings and media comments about holding NSP’s feet to the fire when the utility appeared before it to respond to citizen complaints about power outages, the NSP leadership was greeted to a pleasant, almost cheerful council.
Despite a long time at council’s guest microphone, NSP representatives responded to questions from a council that was composed and measured compared to the tempers that have increasingly flared since Hurricane Fiona.
NSP executives Dave Pickles, Chief Operating Officer; Matthew Drover, Senior Director of Energy Delivery; and Paul Dandurand, Director of Reliability were well able to manage the few times a few councillors asked pointed and direct questions.
NSP takes reliability seriously council heard
Most of the approximately two-hour discussion discussed improving the reliability of the lines. NSP knows that it has some work to do. They spoke about current and upcoming investments to its storm hardening system and the removal of weakened trees from Fiona any other storms from power lines.
They also outlined the company’s increased investment in vegetarian clearing from power lines. The company plans to invest $45 M for each of the next five years to get this done.
The Third’s inquiry to NSP last week and the professional response of their comms team leaves little new for us to report from NSP. But because of our print break, a modified version of last week’s story is included below.
Responding to changing weather conditions
To respond to the intensity of weather, NSP has begun to upgrade and replace power poles and insulators. They say they realize that the equipment needs to resist the new weather realities.
“We definitely know storms are going to continue, the frequency, the intensity. We are seeing hurricanes every year now, wildfires, floods, lightening. There are definitely more storms that we are experiencing every year, which is why we are investing more,” said Matthew Drover, Regional Director of Operations,
after the two-hour season with council.
Mayor wants Fund for Non-Profits
While there was no commitment from NSP, Mayor Amanda McDougall-Merrill asked the company to consider creating a fund that would assistance to the groups who help those in need when the power goes it, particularly in light of the extended power outages some in the Third are experiencing.
Needing Skilled Workers and NSP recognizes value of International Students’ Experience
“In addition to the work that we are doing to storm harden our system we are also seeing lots of additional customer requests, the population is increasing across the province,” said Drover. “So, we are in recruitment mode now. We are recruiting power line technicians from across the county to work on those reliability projects.”
He said the company would consider breaking what would typically be a full-time position at the company into two part-time positions to accommodate the 20-hours per week that international students are permitted to work.
“Absolutely, we are very open to that. We will take as many people as are interested as possible. We are definitely open to opportunities like that.”
Images from nspower.ca