Toronto Hydro to probe CityPlace power outages
Council passes motion asking utility to report back, utility promises to do so in November
Toronto Hydro has begun an investigation into power outages that have plagued CityPlace condo buildings in recent weeks and the utility says it hopes to share its preliminary findings with city council in November.
Tori Gass, spokesperson for Toronto Hydro, said Thursday in an email that the investigation will look at the age of the equipment that failed, what role the aging infrastructure played in the outages, and how information was communicated to residents who suffered through the outages. She said the utility is covering the costs of the investigation.
"The cables that failed have been replaced with brand new ones, so we're as confident as we can be that this situation won't happen again," she said.
"Think of it like a car. Your old one broke down so you replaced it with a new one. You wouldn't expect a new car to break down, but it is possible."
Gass said Toronto Hydro has been monitoring power quality in the CityPlace area since it repaired the equipment. She said the utility is "satisfied" that the repairs were successful. The area extends from Bathurst Street to the west, Front Street West to the north, Lakeshore Boulevard West to the south and the Rogers Centre to the east.
Gass declined to say if the investigation will look at whether or not the existing infrastructure is overloaded because of the development in the area.
City council passed a motion at its meeting on Thursday asking Toronto Hydro to conduct a review of the September outages at CityPlace and report back to council.
The motion calls on Toronto Hydro to look at potential causes of the outages, measures to prevent future incidents, communication protocols and recommendations for improvement for major incidents, maintenance of electrical infrastructure in the area, and hydro capacity and planning in the local neighbourhood.
Coun. Joe Cressy, who represents Ward 20, Trinity- Spadina and who introduced the motion, said it's important that Toronto Hydro gets to the bottom of what caused the series of blackouts.
"The infrastructure has been fully replaced and that should give us comfort for the future," he said. "We need to know exactly what happened so we can make it sure it doesn't happen again, right across the city."
There were at least four major power outages over a two-week period this past summer at CityPlace that lasted between three and 18 hours. The outages meant no air conditioning, food spoiled in fridges and medical equipment could not function.
At the time, Toronto Hydro said the primary and backup feeders servicing the CityPlace area went down at the same time. Both have now been replaced.
Gass said Thursday's city council motion formalizes the investigation that has begun.
"We're already doing an investigation of our own as this was a major outage for us, so the request from Cressy will allow us a forum to share it with all of city council," she said.
Gary Pieters, president of the CityPlace Residents' Association, said the organization welcomes the investigation.
"The investigation is necessary so that there can be a thorough review of the infrastructure needs and level of certainty in ensuring a reliable power supply for CityPlace," he said in a statement.
With files from Chris Glover