Outages in Cambridge, North Dumfries may last until weekend

About 550 Cambridge and North Dumfries Hydro customers might have to wait until the weekend to have power restored to them in the wake of an ice storm that left thousands of homes in the region in the dark.
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      About 550 Cambridge and North Dumfries Hydro customers might have to wait until the weekend to have power restored to them in the wake of an ice storm that left thousands of homes in the region in the dark.

      Barbara Shortreed, a spokeswoman for Cambridge and North Dumfries Hydro, said Monday afternoon the utility could not say when some customers in rural areas might have power restored.

      An estimated 2,500 Waterloo Region residents are without power as of Monday morning as trees weighed down by ice continue to interfere with power lines. 

      Cambridge North Dumfries Hydro said there have had hundreds of reports of downed lines, blown transformers, broken hydro poles or branches on tree lines.

      The hydro outages are going to keep changing I think, perhaps even dramatically.- Carl Zehr, Kitchener Mayor

      "The challenge is that each of these individual trouble calls requires investigation and in most cases, it is anticipated repairs by hydro," the utility said in a release. 

      "In some cases the lines down may be other utility lines."

      The 550 affected customers could have to wait as long as the weekend to get their power restored.

      In Kitchener, Mayor Carl Zehr said it was hard to tell how the situation would affect residents in Kitchener.

      "The hydro outages are going to keep changing I think, perhaps even dramatically," said Zehr.

      "I think it will be potentially like this for a few days," he said. 

      Kitchener-Wilmot Hydro President Jerry Van Ooteghem is more optimistic. He says crews will continue to work around the clock and is hopeful power will be restored in time for Christmas day. 

      "A lot of progress has been made in 24 hours," said Ooteghem. 

      "Given that the weather cooperates and we don't get any more freezing rain in the next day or two, I think that we be in good shape."

      The following is a list of the latest outage figures for Waterloo Region:

      • As of 8 p.m., 480 Kitchener-Wilmot Hydro customers are without power. In a release, the company said it breaks down to 260 in the City of Kitchener and 220 in Wilmot Township. Crews will be working in the following areas by 6 p.m.

        - City of Kitchener - Lorne Avenue, Seneca Drive, section of Spadina Road E., Queens Boulevard, Hidden Valley Road, Nottingham Ave., and section of Stirling Avenue.

        - Wilmot Township – Oxford-Waterloo Road, Huron Road (west of Walker Road), Bridge Street (Walker Road to Puddicombe Road), Bean Road and sections of Sandhills Road.

      • As of 4 p.m., 550 Cambridge and North Dumfries Hydro customers are without power.
      • As of 6 p.m., about 250 Waterloo North Hydro customers are without power. Rene Gatien, the President and CEO of the company, says it should take another 24 to 36 hours before all customers have power once again. Gatien is also urging those without power to seek shelter with friends and family or at a local warming centre. 

      In Guelph, around 50 customers are without power as of 8:30 a.m.

      Customers without power are asked to contact their utility to tell them their power is out and if any branches are visibly touching the lines. 

      All arterial roads through out the region are being salted, according to a press release from the Region of Waterloo, but drivers are advised to be cautious on the icy roads. 

      The Waterloo Region District School Board says the following schools will be closed Monday for extended day programs due to power outages:

      • Pioneer Park PS
      • Brigadoon PS
      • JW Gerth PS
      • Williamsburg PS
      • Silverheights PS
      • Moffat Creek PS

      Some rail, airport delays expected

      Mass transit options to and from Waterloo Region continue to operate in spite of the weekend blast of icy weather.

      "We're open for business," said Jeremy Gardner, the acting general manager of the Region of Waterloo International Airport. 

      Gardner said the airport has treated main runway surfaces with chemicals to remove ice. Surfaces that airplanes drive on between the runway and where passengers board and disembark have been treated with sand to provide traction to planes.

      "I am not really expecting any delays right now, from our end of things anyway. The weather [forecast] is not showing too much, maybe a little bit of snow today. I'm not expecting any huge concerns there." 

      Gardner said passengers should "get in early as normal."

      "It might be a little bit slower due to some operational delays from other airports, but other than that it's pretty much business as usual," Gardner said.

      Via Rail Canada says there are no cancellations as a result of the weather conditions.

      "However, our trains are experiencing some delays," said VIA spokeswoman Mylène Bélanger.

      "In Kitchener right now, delays are between 30 to 45 minutes but train is still the most reliable and safer way to travel right now as there are no cancellations," Bélanger said.


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