/Thousands without power after storm

Thousands without power after storm

By Sue Tiffin

It might be later than Monday that some Hydro One customers have power restored.

According to Hydro One, damage is severe and power outages extensive after a massive wind storm swept through the province beginning Saturday afternoon and ending into the night.

“On Saturday, we saw an extreme wind storm come into the province, and that wind stayed out throughout the night, so over 100 km/hour winds,” said Richard Francella, Hydro One spokesperson, who spoke to the Times on Sunday evening. “This is one of the worst wind storms we’ve seen in recent years. As a result of the extreme winds we’ve seen the winds knock power off to more than 450,000 customers across the province.”

While the most recent storm that was comparable was in 2018, Francella said, damage is still being discovered. On Sunday night, damage had included 200 broken poles and 53 damaged transformers, downed power lines and fallen trees but more was expected to be found.

“Our crews are still in areas looking at damage, assessing it, seeing how they can restore power.”

On Sunday morning at about 11 a.m., the Hydro One outage map showed numerous outages across the southern part of the province./Screenshot from Hydro One outage map

Now, about 24 hours after the winds began, 335,000 people have had power restored, while 115,000 customers remain without power.

“We have deployed all available resources,” said Francella. “We have additional crews from other areas that weren’t impacted as badly, to come in and assist. Our crews are out there in full force right now, making those repairs, because we’re seeing approximately 3,500 active outages.”

In the central region, which includes Haliburton County, 50,000 customers were without power on Sunday evening.

“We’re seeing a lot of smaller outages in harder-to-reach areas so we’re using helicopters and off-road equipment to assess the damage and to make those repairs, but what we are seeing in terms of the damage, it’s really extensive and it’s quite severe,” said Francella. “We’re seeing broken poles, we’re seeing fallen trees, we’re seeing downed power lines so it’s really important that customers stay safe and stay beyond the 10 metres of power lines. Through this damage we do anticipate some customers to be without power for the remainder of the day, and some customers could be without power beyond Monday as well.”

On Sunday morning at about 11 a.m., numerous outages across the county could be seen on the Hydro One storm centre map, but an estimated time of restoration was not available for many locations./Screenshot from Hydro One outage map

As for customers wondering when their area might see power again, Hydro One’s power outage storm centre map shows areas in Haliburton County with hundreds of customers and areas with fewer customers – Francella said it’s correct that the areas with higher numbers of customers could see their power on first.

“We prioritize getting lights back on to the greatest number of customers in the shortest period,” he said.

Featured image: Hydro One crews work to repair and restore power after a tree fell on a power line in Huntsville during Saturday’s storms.