Ottawa

Power could take days to fully restore post-storm

Ottawa's mayor is warning it could take two to three days to fully restore power to the more than 176,500 customers who were still experiencing outages Sunday.

Complex, multi-day work underway, says Hydro Ottawa

Utility workers work to make sure the power is off as motorists remain in their vehicles after a major storm took down poles and power lines on Merivale Road in Ottawa May 21, 2022. (Justin Tang/The Canadian Press)

Ottawa's mayor is warning it could take two to three days to fully restore power to the more than 176,500 customers who were still experiencing outages Sunday.

Following heavy storms Saturday that brought extremely strong wind gusts, more than 350,000 in the region were initially without power. Early Sunday afternoon that number was still well above 300,000.

"The challenge … is we receive our power from Hydro One and if it's not coming through the system because of downed lines, it will obviously have an impact on our customers. So we're trying to get as many of our customers back as possible," said Mayor Jim Watson. 

"People are frustrated, they want their power back yesterday, but Hydro tells us it's going to be two or three days for everyone to come back online."

Emergency and repair crews worked throughout the night and into Sunday to try to restore power, focusing on the larger ones.

"The situation is complex, with extensive damage to our infrastructure across the city to both transmission and distribution systems, and at this time, we are not able to provide estimated restoration times," Hydro Ottawa said in a statement.

"Crews have worked overnight and will continue to do so over the coming days. At this time, we believe this will be a multi-day restoration effort. Power will be restored initially to large scale outages, followed by smaller ones, keeping safety as the number one priority."

Hydro Ottawa map of outages

Hydro One says the extent of the damage from the storm is notable, particularly the toppling of metal transmission towers in the Ottawa area. 

"Between trees, branches, broken poles and wires down, it's really a very, very messy, messy cleanup," Hydro One spokesperson Tiziana Baccega Rosa said.

The utility could not say when most issues were likely to be resolved, noting that 200 hydro poles had been knocked out or destroyed.

Hydro-Québec said in a post on its website that more than 800 workers are tackling cleanup Sunday. The Outaouais and neighbouring regions were the hardest-hit.

It doesn't have estimated restoration times because of the large number of outages and rapidly changing situation. Crews may have to change locations if there's an immediate danger or essential service that needs work, the power utility said.

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