Storm cleanup costs top $500K, hydro companies say

Kitchener-Wilmot Hydro estimates the cost of cleaning up after a fierce storm that toppled hydro poles and splintered trees last week at $300,000.

The bulk of the cost is related to overtime paid to hydro crews, who worked around the clock in the storm's aftermath

Waterloo Region hydro companies estimate they spent almost $500,000 to clean up after last week's devastating summer storm. (John Rieti/CBC)

The cost of cleaning up power lines and other infrastructure damaged by last Friday's wind storm will likely top $500,000 the region's three main hydro companies estimate.

Kitchener-Wilmot Hydro said it's spent around $300,000 since the storm. Wilf Meston, Vice President of Operations for the utility, said overtime paid to hydro crews, who were working around the clock, formed the bulk of the cost.

"We didn't have a whole lot of material replacements," he said, adding the costs are, "mostly labour and 70 per cent of that is to repair the lines and the other 30 percent is forestry crews removing branches and trees from the line."

As of Tuesday evening 12 to 18 Kitchener-Wilmot Hydro customers remained without electricity. The utility said that 21,000 customers were left without power in the immediate aftermath of the storm.

At Cambridge North Dumfries Hydro, which serves over 52,000 homes, crews are back to normal work.

Spokesperson Barb Shortreed said the storm cost an estimated $125,000, a figure that includes payments for overtime and hiring contractors.

By Wednesday afternoon, Shortreed said the damage was "almost completely cleaned up."

Waterloo North Hydro crews are still clearing trees, spokesperson John Janzen said, but power restoration is complete except for a handful of homes where infrastructure needs to be replaced by the owners.

Janzen said the company estimates it spent around $100,000 to clean up after the storm.

"It was a major event, there’s no doubt about it," Janzen said.

Janzen said it could be a while until a definite total cost is known.