For most of us, 2020 was a year we would just as soon forget. Our country and most of the world saw multiple hardships and disruptions due to the COVID-19 virus and government regulations.
As your electric provider, we also saw situations that were difficult during the year, as well as a responsibility to our members to continue service. Our employees stepped up to the challenge and came up with creative ways to handle the needs of our members and at the same time create a safe working environment for themselves. They understand that the most important thing, of course, is safety but also understand that keeping your power on, especially during a time of crisis, is extremely important. While many businesses were closed and most people were stuck inside their homes, our crews and office personnel were still finding ways to service your needs.
Even with the turbulent year, there was some positive news for Heartland REMC. Our fiber project continues to make great strides. By the end of 2020, we had over 1.5 million feet of wire installed and over 400 homes had high speed connections. We learned a lot about the differences of installing fiber communications vs. installing electric lines. Whereas there are some similarities, there are many different challenges to building a completely new fiber network. But with those lessons, we feel that in the years to come, we will be providing service at a much faster pace.
Heartland remains extremely strong financially. Even with the disruption of several of our industrial customers, our margins stayed solid. As we continue with financing the fiber internet project, we are confident that it will have no effect on our electric rates and the electric side of the business will continue to operate at a high level of reliability.
I hate it that we could not have an annual meeting event this year. I always enjoy seeing a lot of the members and having a chance to speak to you personally. Hopefully, it will not be long before we can get together again for some good food and good fellowship. Take care, stay healthy and I hope to see you all soon.