Message from the President & CEO
The year 2020 has marked one of the most challenging times we've seen in a generation.
The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted millions and will be an experience that we'll never forget.
As we've adjusted to new ways of operating and ensuring the health and safety of our workforce, it has been a constant reminder of how resilient we must be when communities are counting on us.
As you explore the pages in this online feature, you'll see the ongoing commitment our teams have had in delivering reliable energy, clean water, drainage and wastewater services to more than two million customers across Canada and the U.S. And as we carried out this essential work, we saw opportunities to go further and help individuals and non-profits hit hardest.
This combination of commitment and care is what it takes to get through challenging times, and EPCOR was pleased to be there for the many communities where we operate.
In everything we do at EPCOR – from our employees working in facilities to our crews operating at work sites – it begins with health and safety. This year, more than ever, that focus took center stage.
By the spring of last year, we had 1,900 EPCOR employees shift to working from home, increasing their ability to stay healthy, while team members essential to operations continued their dedicated roles in the field and in facilities, maintaining the utility systems our customers rely on.
Our emergency response promoted the guidance of health authorities and implemented further steps for our teams to protect themselves, including additional personal protective equipment, enhanced hygiene protocols and daily health screening before arriving on site.
We communicated often, provided updates on our response and many resources to help our teams manage through challenges of the pandemic – from both workplace and personal perspectives.
As a result, we managed to keep cases of COVID as low as possible across our workforce and ended up having one of our best years in safety on record, as well as an absentee rate lower than in the previous year.
With the resilience of our teams moving us ahead, we carried out an ambitious roster of capital projects in Alberta: we connected customers to newly-provided natural gas services in Southern Bruce, Ontario; we brought on the Vista Ridge Project – a 143-mile water supply pipeline – in San Antonio, Texas; and we completed the largest and most complex IT integration we've seen with our new Customer Information System.
Overall, more than $938 million in capital was invested to maintain essential infrastructure, expand operations and serve growing communities.
Moving into 2021, we look forward to the start of recovery from the pandemic and to a year that will see EPCOR integrate the new San Tan water and wastewater districts (formerly Johnson Utilities) into our operations, following the finalization of this major acquisition in the U.S. As well, we anticipate the advancement of projects that will see us make major contributions to climate change mitigation, such as the E.L. Smith Solar Farm, and to many opportunities to work with partners and community members as we engage on projects that are essential to our operations, and the growth and care of communities.
On behalf of Team EPCOR, I thank you for your interest in this year's online report and for the opportunity we may have to engage in dialogue on the work we do and services we provide. And I look forward to the potential of seeing you all in person at next year's AGM.
- Stuart Lee