Keeping the heat on for our natural gas customers

April 9, 2020

It’s a behind-the-scenes “essential service” that doesn’t garner much attention.

Across North America, countless dedicated women and men manage round-the-clock operation of the critical energy infrastructure that keeps society’s engine running smoothly.

In Ontario, the Enbridge Gas team at our Control Center in Chatham helps to keep the heat on for homes and businesses, and provide the energy and comfort people count on during the COVID-19 pandemic. Meanwhile, the Contact Center team in Brantford ensures safety remains top-of-mind while continuing to act as the first point of contact for a great many Enbridge Gas customers.

With a staff of 19, including controllers, the recently expanded Control Center monitors and controls Enbridge gas storage, transmission and distribution systems across Ontario, as well as power assets as far afield as Virginia, Texas and Colorado.

“The system we are responsible for operating and monitoring in the control room is complex and dynamic,” says Ian, a senior gas controller based in Chatham. “It requires constant supervision and control to meet customer demands while maintaining real-time system safety and integrity.”

As with all Enbridge operating facilities and project sites, the Chatham operation has implemented diligent hygiene practices and is ensuring minimal interaction between controllers, which includes working different shifts at a newly built back-up site or the primary Control Centre.

Given the long hours and intense focus required over each shift, the Chatham team relies on one another, especially during emergency situations.

“Through all of the uncertainty and change,” says Lesley, a gas control manager, “we are fortunate to have such a fantastic group of committed employees who’ve really come together quickly to ensure our operations continue to run smoothly, safely, and effectively and meet our customers’ needs and expectations.”

In Brantford, the Contact Center team is mindful of distancing protocols and making liberal use of disinfectant wipes and sprays, as well as soap and hand sanitizer.

“Among other things, we answer questions about utility service work, billing issues, meter exchanges and collections which we anticipate will be a growing issue with our customers in the coming months,” says Cindy, who works in the Contact Center. “I think everybody is doing everything they can to stay healthy and respect that we are a critical service for the community.”