By Charlie Senack, Barrhaven Independent
Customers who are still without power should expect to wait a little while longer for electricity after Hydro Ottawa says they failed to meet Friday’s deadline.
During a Friday afternoon press conference, Bryce Conrad, president and CEO of Hydro Ottawa, said more damage than expected and weather conditions are to blame.
“I’ve constantly stated that we have been targeting today to get the bulk power system back up and running,” he said. “The weather this morning and the level of additional damage that we’re finding to our equipment, we will not meet that commitment.”
No new timelines are being given, but in areas like parts of River ward, Parkwood Hills, General Burns and Fisher Heights, it could be two to three more days. Some good news, however: Power has been restored to parts of Carleton Heights and Fisher Glen neighborhoods.
In Bells Corners Hydro Ottawa tried to flow power through the lines, but it didn’t reach homes. Conrad believes debris and fallen trees are to blame.
Hydro crews from Kingston, Toronto, New Brunswick, and the United States have been across the city Friday morning, hoping to get the full electrical grid back on. They focused much of their efforts on Merivale road Friday, where dozens of poles fell down, some on top of cars. Traffic lights and signage also sat in the debris pile.
Over 300 hydro poles have toppled over across the city, with Hydro Ottawa saying last Saturday’s storm, known as a Derecho, was worse than the ice storm of 1998 and “four to five times worse” than the 2018 tornadoes. It brought wind gusts of up to 190 kilometers an hour.
For many Parkwood Hills residents who live in the Minto-run apartment buildings, they have been without any power for over six days. The buildings don’t run on generators and the water system has also been cut off. On Thursday fire crews were there to pump water from hydro connections to the hoses located in the building’s hallways. From there they used those hoses to distribute water into the individual units. Food trucks from the Ottawa Mission have also been on site to feed hungry residents.
With so much cleaning up to still be done, the city is asking for Ottawa residents to help over the weekend. They have launched a Cleaning the Capital After the Storm initiative,where residents can attend multiple community centres to pick up supplies.
Supplies will be available for pickup as of Saturday, May 28, between 10 am and 10 pm, at the following locations:
- Navan Memorial Centre & Arena, 1295 Colonial Road
- Howard Darwin Centennial (Merivale) Arena, 1765 Merivale Road
- Hunt Club-Riverside Park Community Centre, 3320 Paul Anka Drive
- CARDELREC Recreation Complex (Goulbourn), 1500 Shea Road
More details can be found on the City of Ottawa website.
As of Friday evening, power has been restored to 151,000 Hydro Ottaaa customers, with 26,000 still in the dark.
“We continue to make progress, realizing that thousands are waiting to be restored,” Conrad said. “I simply ask for your ongoing patience as we continue to work around the clock to bring every single one of our customers back online.”