In my first three months as President and CEO of Hydro One, I was immediately struck by the strength and resilience of the people who work at Hydro One. In the face of leadership transition, multiple storms and evolving customer expectations, Hydro One employees focused on safely delivering exceptional customer service to homes, businesses and communities across Ontario.
Through their efforts, Hydro One delivered safe and reliable power to the great satisfaction of our customers. During an unprecedented year of severe weather, our crews worked tirelessly to quickly and safely turn the lights back on, improving our power restoration times by one-third over a similar storm event five years earlier.
In 2018, Hydro One strengthened our ability to manage our carbon footprint and adapt to the changing environmental and climate conditions we are experiencing in our daily lives. We also strengthened our ties with Indigenous leaders, businesses and communities across the province, increasing our procurement spending to $39.4 million with Indigenous businesses. Our efforts to streamline our operations and improve our overall efficiency delivered $135.5 million in productivity savings in 2018.
It was, however, a challenging year for Hydro One in many respects. While we met our safety performance targets, employees are still dealing with the emotional aftermath of fatalities in 2017 and early 2019. We are resolved to build a stronger safety culture and deliver world-class safety performance. I will work closely with our new Management/Union Oversight Committee to ensure the safety of our employees is Hydro One’s top priority.
We heard directly from employees that while they are proud of our workplace diversity, there is room for improvement in how we treat one another. Like many large organizations, we must continuously challenge old ways of thinking — long-held stigmas and stereotypes — to ensure we continue to attract the best and brightest people to our organization.
As we look forward, we will continue to invest in Ontario’s economy far beyond the towers and wires people see today. Our pursuit of new technology and leading-edge partnerships is important to modernizing Ontario’s electricity grid and to supporting the growing communities, manufacturing facilities and industrial companies that are vital to the economic health and sustainability of our province. Our investments also create valuable jobs, procurement opportunities, community development projects and sponsorships. Last year alone, Hydro One injected $1.3 billion into Ontario’s economy through purchases of local goods and services.
I know our long-term performance depends on us incorporating sustainability into all aspects of our business and it is my honour to lead Hydro One into the next chapter of our journey toward sustainable growth.
President & CEO, Hydro One