Hydro Ottawa won't meet Friday deadline to restore power to most customers

Hydro Ottawa's president and CEO says the utility can't deliver on an earlier promise to restore power to most customers by Friday night.

Bad weather partly to blame for missing goal, CEO says

Damaged buildings in Ottawa. A major wind and thunderstorm, known as a derecho, blew down trees and hydro equipment across a wide swath of Ontario and parts of western Quebec. Hydro Ottawa says it will take a few more days to restore power to most customers in the area. (Brian Morris/CBC)


  • On Saturday, Hydro Ottawa tweeted that another 7,000 customers were reconnected overnight.
  • It says 19,000 customers remain without power.

Hydro Ottawa's president and CEO says the utility can't deliver on an earlier promise to restore power to most customers by Friday night.

During an update on Friday afternoon, Bryce Conrad said poor weather conditions are partly to blame for the slower than hoped recovery from last weekend's destructive, fatal derecho windstorm.

Rain has been falling for the past day in Ottawa, and the forecast shows more rain with the risk of a thunderstorm leading into the weekend.

"It slowed the crews down," Conrad said, adding that extensive damage and debris in some areas are contributing to the delay.

Conrad said he's now reticent to provide a new timeline, but said he hoped power would be restored to the majority of customers within the next few days.

"I don't want to make another time commitment," he said. "The only commitment I can make is the crews will be there."

Residents can volunteer this weekend

Kim Ayotte, the city's general manager of emergency services, said residents can begin volunteering this weekend to help with cleanup efforts. 

The city will launch a Cleaning the Capital After the Storm program. Details on how to participate will be on the city's website later Friday, he said. 

People can also volunteer with The Samaritan's Purse, which will co-ordinate the removal of debris from residents' private properties in the city's hardest-hit areas. Volunteers will be asked to dress appropriately.

More information on this initiative will also be available later Friday on the city's website.

37,000 customers without power across wider region

More than 37,000 customers in the Ottawa-Gatineau region — 29,000 customers in Hydro Ottawa territory — were still without power as of 1 p.m. Friday.

More than 350,000 customers in the region initially lost power Saturday. CBC counted about 150,000 on Tuesday morning, 115,000 on Wednesday morning and 90,000 on Thursday morning.

On Thursday, Hydro Ottawa officials said they were sticking with their Friday deadline to return power to most residents, though they warned that wind, rain and potential thunderstorms in the forecast could slow that effort.

The mayor of Clarence-Rockland, Ont., just east of Ottawa, told CBC News Network on Tuesday that he's warned residents to prepare for a week without electricity.

Most local Hydro One customers have been told their power would be restored by today.

Some highrise buildings in Ottawa are still without power, and residents — some among the city's most vulnerable — are banding together to get by.

Some communities are opening up emergency centres for people who are facing days without power and need help.

Ottawa now has 20 such centres open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.