Hydro crews race to restore power as ice storm wreaks havoc across region

As crews race to restore power to thousands of customers across Ottawa, the messy late-season storm continues to bring down hydro lines, leaving more customers in the dark.

26,000 without power in Ottawa as of 4 p.m.

A series of hydro poles snapped along County Road 9, north of the village of St. Isidore, Ont. (Denis Babin/Radio-Canada)

As hydro crews race to restore power to thousands of customers across Ottawa, the messy late-season storm continues to bring down lines, leaving more customers in the dark.

The combination of clinging ice and high winds that began Sunday has snapped hydro poles, downed power lines and felled tree branches across the city.

As of  2 p.m. Monday, around 200 separate outages had been reported across the city, and around 43,000 customers were without power. But by 4 p.m., power had been restored to 17,000 of those customers, Hydro Ottawa reported.

How quickly those outages are restored depends on the extent of the damage, said Joseph Muglia, director of distribution operations with Hydro Ottawa.

"The ones that are a little bit more complicated are the longer stretches of broken poles that we're dealing with currently," he said. "Unfortunately a domino effect can sometimes happen when you have that amount of ice build up on the lines, making them extremely heavy. You get one pole broken and then it sort of cascades down." 

Outages occurred across the city, with significant blackouts west of the downtown, in the south end and in Nepean. 

All available crews and some contract crews are working to restore electricity, and Muglia said most areas of the city will have power restored by Tuesday morning.

Hydro Quebec reported 37,780 customers without power in the Outaouais as of 2 p.m.

Outages are also affecting people in the Ottawa Valley and east of the city, including more than 5,000 who are without power in Embrun.