Alberta One-Call Celebrates 30 Years
30 years ago in 1984, Michael Jordan was enjoying his first year in the NBA, Apple introduced the Macintosh and the Edmonton Oilers won the Stanley Cup. It seems like a long time ago but, it has flown by in the blink of an eye.
Alberta One-Call processed its first locate request on October 1st, 1984. Scott Henley was Manager in ’84 and remained at the helm until 1989 when Bob Chisholm took over. Laraine Lawson and Scott looked on while a CSR processed that first locate request and Laraine remains with AOC to this day. With AOC’s Board of Directors, Scott and Laraine carved a path for AOC and damage prevention in those early years. Under Bob’s purview, AOC grew to over 700 members and helped to secure legislation within the Alberta Energy Regulator (formerly ERCB) Regulations requiring all licensees under AER jurisdiction to register with AOC.
“From a user’s point of view, we’re doing pretty much the same thing we did 30 years ago but the operational efficiencies have grown exponentially,” says Laraine, “and given the speed of technological development, the rate of change we’ve experienced thus far will double – maybe even triple – in the next five years.”
“In our first few months of operations, AOC processed over seven thousand locate requests – well over what had been estimated”, says Scott Henley. “We knew very quickly that the service was here to stay.” Today, AOC annually processes over 350,000 locates and on average, notifies its members of proposed excavations over 1.6 million times every year.
“There’s no doubt in my mind that Alberta One-Call has saved lives“, adds Bob Chisholm. “We’ll never know who, when or where but the frequency of excavation across Alberta and the extensive use of our provincial One-Call Service tells me that.”
“Call Before You Dig” has been drilled into the Alberta psyche and as a call-to-action, it is highly successful – but today, it’s all about “the Click”.
“Click Before You Dig was introduced for a few reasons”, explains Mike Sullivan, the current President Alberta One-Call Corporation. “It’s the wave today – not of the future – and we needed Albertans to make this new connection with us. We’ve been processing web locate requests for over fifteen years but never promoted it. Online locate requests are far more efficient for everyone and in the past twelve months, we’ve seen a 60% shift to the web. When we kicked-off the Click campaign last year, the public transition to the web was swift. By the end of 2015, we predict 80% of all locate requests will originate through the web or our App, which we’re working on now.”
So, what’s next?
“Going forward, we need to stay a few steps ahead – see around corners”, continues Sullivan. “Public safety and the damage prevention process can’t afford to be irrelevant or appear outdated. Damage prevention is here to stay but the manner in which we receive a locate request will change. ‘Click, Call, Tap the App‘ is what the public wants now. In parallel, the way AOC notifies its members of a ground disturbance will also change. If we’re not in-step with technology and reasonable public expectations, we risk not being at top of mind. That’s simply not acceptable.”