Back to top

FortisBC crews in Turks and Caicos Islands to help after Hurricane Irma

FortisBC crews from Kelowna, the South Okanagan and the Kootenays ready to head out from the Kelowna airport to join counterparts from across Canada to help restore power to the Island of Turks and Caicos in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma. From left: Jesse, Dean, Conor, Travis, Kevin, Aaron, and Mike. — Photo courtesy FortisBC

A trio of FortisBC workers from the Kootenays arrived in in the Turks and Caicos Islands on Sunday, September 10 to begin in helping restore power to the area devastated by Hurricane Irma over the weekend.

FortisBC said in total, six power line technicians and one supervisor from FortisBC joined a 58-person operation crew from Fortis Inc.’s Canadian operations to help restore the Islands’ power to critical infrastructure.

The deployment is part of the company’s Hurricane Irma emergency response program with utility personnel from Canada assisting FortisTCI with restoration efforts on the Islands of Turks and Caicos.   

“We made contact this morning with our team in Providenciales,” said Barry Perry, President and CEO, Fortis Inc.

“Our thoughts are with all our employees throughout the Islands, their families, the Government and people of Turks and Caicos.  Fortis will work diligently to help restore power throughout the region safely and as quickly as possible once the all-clear is given by Government.” 

As part of our initial response, employees from FortisBC, FortisAlberta, FortisOntario, Maritime Electric and Newfoundland Power will travel to the region as soon as the airport reopens.

These employees include power line technicians, design technologists, mechanics and engineers, and are expected to be on the ground for a three-week period.

A second crew will replace the initial team to continue the support; this group will include employees from our United States-based utilities. 

“This combined effort to assist FortisTCI in restoring the power system will be comprehensive,” said Gary Smith, Executive Vice President, Eastern Canadian and Caribbean Operations, Fortis Inc. 

“Our first priority will be restoring power to critical infrastructure such as water supply systems, as well as to emergency response organizations like fire, police, hospitals and shelters.  All other efforts will be organized and prioritized once on the ground,” he said. 

This is the 9themergency response effort of this kind for Fortis utilities. 

Others include:

  • Gilbert – 1988 – Jamaica
  • Keith – 2000 – Belize 
  • Iris – 2001 – Belize 
  • Juan – 2003 – Prince Edward Island 
  • Ivan – 2004 – Jamaica and Grand Cayman 
  • Tornadoes – 2006 – Alberta 
  • Ike – 2008 – Turks and Caicos
  • Igor – 2010 – Newfoundland and Labrador 

“We will be diligent and decisive in these efforts, and take all precautions to ensure our employees and the residents of the country remain safe at all times,” said Mr. Smith. 

With extensive experience dealing with damage from forest fires and seasonal storms in B.C.’s back country, FortisBC power line technicians are accustomed to working in difficult terrain and manually clearing downed lines and equipment. This will be invaluable experience as they work to clear transportation routes from power line debris with little infrastructure or heavy equipment on the ground to help.