Oct 27, 2014

City Inspectors help turn the lights back on for Calgarians

City Electrical Safety Codes Officers like Adam
Ghani (above) were instrumental in helping restore
power to homes across the city, thanks to strong
partnerships with ENMAX and CEMA.
More than 60,000 properties were left in the dark following heavy wet snowfall on September 8th, 2014. Trees that succumbed to the weight of the snowfall took with them power lines and many ENMAX transformer fuses.

When Planning and Development’s Chief Electrical Inspector, Shane Hoogenboom, arrived at the ENMAX Tactical Operations Centre, he was grateful that discussions with ENMAX earlier in the year created an emergency response procedure for these types of situations.

“During normal business operations, electrical contractors need to pull a permit when making repairs to the electrical service of a house,” says Hoogenboom.  “That work must then be inspected by The City’s inspector before ENMAX can reconnect power.  The new emergency response procedure allows ENMAX to restore power in an after-hour situation, following repairs by a City qualified and licenced electrician.”   Electricians are still required to apply for a permit the following business day. 

“We developed the emergency procedures following the 2013 Flood, to ensure we could restore power to homes as quickly as possible, and even during after-hour situations,” notes Hoogenboom.

Working hand in hand with ENMAX, CEMA and The City’s Emergency Operation Centre, Shane collaborated with various partners to educate and inform the public on how to restore power. “It was a team effort and we worked well together to develop strategies and messaging for the public,” says Hoogenboom.

By September 15, Electrical Inspectors saw a 52 percent increase in electrical permit inspection requests.  Countless hours and determination by inspectors reduced the backlog to normal volumes within just two days.  Inspections help ensure public safety by verifying electrical repairs completed meet all applicable codes and City bylaw requirements.

Shane’s Electrical inspectors became instrumental to ENMAX in the days to follow, helping restore power to thousands of homes still in the dark. One Calgarian was particularly grateful for their efforts. “We had been without power for over three days,” says Kevin Whittier via Twitter. “He (Senior Safety Codes Officer, Adam Ghani) checked out our block this morning, which had about 20 homes without power, found the problem and contacted ENMAX for us. We had power back in less than two hours”. 

“I noticed a pair of power conductors had blown fuses and twisted power lines, so I called ENMAX with the pole numbers and a nearby crew was able to make the repairs,” says Ghani.  “All our inspectors were instrumental in helping restore power in the days that followed the blackout, but it’s nice to be recognized for the effort.”

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