London·Updated

London 'confident' it can handle Junos after Wednesday blackout put 25K in the dark

Officials with the city say they're confident London can handle Juno week festivities in the wake of an abrupt Wednesday morning blackout that plunged 25,000 London homes and businesses in the dark.

Officials say Wednesday's blackout was an isolated incident and won't affect week-long festival

London officials say they're confident that Wednesday's blackout was an isolated incident and won't affect the remainder of Juno week celebrations in the city. (Chris Seto/CBC)

London officials say they're confident the city can pull off Juno week in the wake of an abrupt Wednesday morning power outage that plunged 25,000 homes and business into darkness.

The blackout struck at 8:15 a.m. Wednesday morning, crippling signal lights and impeding traffic in some areas just as the commute to work up was about to ramp up. The power loss also affected homes, businesses, public libraries—even Western University was in the dark.

London Hydro's power outage map as of 8:45 a.m. Wednesday. At least 25,000 homes and businesses were plunged into darkness when the power suddenly failed. (londonhydro.com)

The outage could even be heard on the air during the Wednesday morning broadcast of CBC Radio One's London Morning, which went silent just as host Rebecca Zandbergen was introducing Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences president Allan Reid during an on-location remote at Fanshawe College's downtown campus. 

What I am confident in is that [London] Hydro is on top of this.- Ed Holder, London Mayor

The power failure began when the feed from the provincial utility, Hydro One, to the city's power utility, London Hydro, was unexpectedly interrupted to the tune of 64 megawatts.  

London Hydro crews were able to restore power by 9:30 a.m., by rerouting electricity from other areas of the city to make up for the loss. 

The outage comes at a sensitive time for the city, as hundreds of musicians and recording artists are in town for the Junos, a week-long festival paying tribute to the Canadian music industry. 

Ed Holder says he's 'confident' London is ready for the Junos after a Wednesday blackout cut power to 25,000 homes and businesses in the city. (Colin Butler/CBC News)

"I had the chairman of the Junos with me when there was a little flicker," Holder told CBC News.

"He noticed that there were parts of downtown obviously that were affected by this. What I am confident in is that [London] Hydro is on top of this and I'm looking forward to welcoming all our guests to have a great Juno week." 

The mayor's sentiment was echoed by the city's power utility, London Hydro, which blamed the blackout on an interruption of the electricity feed from its supplier, Hydro One. 

"We don't anticipate any issues at all," said London Hydro spokeswoman Nancy Hutton.

"It looks like it was an issue with the feed coming into the city," she said. "It wasn't London Hydro's distribution system." 

Problems began with provincial utility

London Hydro says that whatever caused the power outage Wednesday morning, originated outside the city's power grid. (Darren Calabrese/Canadian Press)

Hydro One confirmed Thursday that the blackout happened after a breaker malfunctioned at one of its transformer stations, leaving 25,000 customers without electricity until the situation could be resolved by London Hydro crews. 

Brian Ohl, who is the manager of Budweiser Gardens, the 9,000-seat venue that will play host to the Juno Awards show on Sunday night, said he's not worried there will be any further problems with power. 

"No, I'm not concerned," he said. "We're confident it won't be an issue." 

Neither officials from the London Juno Host Committee nor the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences could be reached for comment Wednesday. 

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