Ken Boyd is no stranger to power outages. His Millgrove house briefly lost power in July when a summer storm dumped 53.6 millimetres of rain and downed trees and power lines.
But the blackout brought by last weekend's ice storm is something he has never seen.
“It's never like this,” he said, as the power outage stretches to its fourth day. “We are just trying to survive.”
The Boyd family is one of the hundreds of hydro customers who have been without power since Saturday in the wake of a brutal ice storm. As of Tuesday morning, Hydro One reported that 8,772 customers are still experiencing power outages, down from 22,000 on Monday. Four hundred Horizon Utilities customers are in the same situation.
Hydro One told Boyd that his power would be restored by 10 p.m. Monday night, but the latest estimate says the power won't be back until 10 p.m. on Christmas Eve.
“Our patience is wearing thin,” said Boyd's wife Joy.
Hydro One spokesperson Tiziana Baccega Rosa said the delay is due to the challenging conditions crew members face on the ground, including impassable roads and severely damaged power lines.
Also, more ice-covered branches have fallen since the first round of outages, which means more repairs.
More tree branches will fall
Coun. Judi Partridge, whose ward is served by both Horizon Utilities and Hydro One, said members from Horizon Utilities' senior management team keep councillors updated with the latest restoration effort. However, she encountered “significant challenges” with Hydro One due to the lack of communications.
Nonetheless, Partridge said, the blackout has given rise to many neighbourly acts.
“It's a small town, so everybody knows everybody,” she said. “So we've been checking on our seniors and our neighbours and that's reciprocated.”
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As the blackout stretches into its third day for some residents and fourth day for others, Environment Canada issued a special weather statement for Hamilton and parts of southern Ontario, advising residents to prepare for colder than average temperatures.
In addition, more ice-covered tree branches could fall due to the winds, Environment Canada said, raising concerns of more power outages.
Across the street from the Boyd family, 14-year-old Logan Robinson kept himself occupied with hockey on his family's driveway. Tiny icicles have formed on the nets of the goal.
“You can see our breath in the house,” the Waterdown Secondary School student said.
Next to the makeshift hockey rink, a truck acts as a temporary charging station for the family's mobile devices, but the computers are all shut down due to the power outage. For Robinson, however, there is a silver lining to being unplugged.
“It's kind of nice. It means more time with the family.”