Power goes back out briefly for thousands in west end Monday night

Just moments after Hydro Ottawa provided an update on progress restoring power following the May 21 storm, thousands of customers in Stittsville and Kanata lost power.

There were 6,500 customers without power in pockets throughout Ottawa as of Monday at 8 p.m. Power has been restored to 173,500 Hydro Ottawa customers since a May 21 storm left a trail of destruction across the capital. Just a few minutes later, an outage affecting more than 8,200 customers in Stittsville and Kanata was reported on Hydro Ottawa’s outage map.

The outage in Kanata and Stittsville had an estimated restoration time of 12:30 p.m. Tuesday, though Stittsville Coun. Glen Gower had tweeted that it could be earlier. Power was restored overnight.

Hydro Ottawa CEO Bryce Conrad explained Tuesday that it took about two hours to restore power. He said a piece of infrastructure that was damaged by the storm failed.

“What we found was a piece of infrastructure that was severely damaged and compromised by the storm. We had crews working on site and saw the switch fail so we were able to effect repairs fairly quickly,” he said.

Hydro Ottawa’s outage map came back online Monday evening.

“With the bulk of the electricity grid now fully operational, we are now able to relaunch our online outage map, tailored for customers who remain without power after last week’s storm,” a statement on Hydro Ottawa’s website says. “We know that customers would like us to provide a more accurate estimate. Due to the number of individual and complex overlapping outages throughout the city, we are not able to provide exact times of restoration at this point.”

Speaking to reporters Monday afternoon, Hydro Ottawa CEO Bryce Conrad said there were more than 300 small outages across the city, including 33 outages of more than 50 customers across, 27 outages of between 10 and 50 customers and 273 outages affecting 10 or fewer customers as of Monday morning.

Hydro Ottawa says thousands of customers are still in the dark 10 days after the storm hit Ottawa due to tree contacts, damage to equipment and other interference in the hydro infrastructure.

“As we get down to these remaining outages, that is the issue: trees and tree contacts on wires,” Conrad said. “We have forestry crews, we have a great deal of forestry contractors, some arrived today, some more will arrive tomorrow, and that is what they’re doing. They’re just simply going to blitz and remove those trees from the wires.”

Hydro Ottawa’s outage map as of 9 p.m. May 30, 2022. It shows a large outage affecting Stittsville and parts of Kanata. (hydroottawa.com)

More than a dozen schools remain closed Monday, though only five across the city’s two English language school boards will remain closed Tuesday due to the power outages. The city of Ottawa opened “one-stop shops” for community support information.

On Monday, Hydro Ottawa said crews were working in the following areas:

  • Riverside Park and Hog’s Back
  • Pauline Vanier Park
  • City View, Crestview and Meadowlands Drive
  • Queensway Terrace South and Ridgeview
  • Bells Corners east and Lynwood Village
  • Merivale Gardens and areas around Merivale Road (west side of Merivale Road near Hunt Club Road)
  • Pineglen Annex (south of McFarlane to the corner of Merivale Road and Prince of Wales Drive)
  • Cityview Skyline, Fisher Heights (south of Baseline, north of Inverness Avenue and west of Fisher Avenue)
  • Fisher Glen
  • Lincoln Heights and Britannia Heights
  • Whitehaven, Carlingwood, Glaber Park and McKellar Heights
  • Faircrest Heights, Riverview Park and Alta Vista
  • Iris and Ridgeview
  • Areas around Dewberry Trail, Renaud Road, Dolman Ridge Road, Anderson Road, and Russell Road
  • Revelstoke area
  • Elmvale Acres and Urbandale area
  • Munster

In a memo to council Sunday evening, Conrad said that after reconnecting priority infrastructure, the priority was “flowing power to each and every circuit” in the “bulk power grid” as soon as possible.

“Earlier today, we were able to complete that task,” Conrad said.

Hydro crews from Toronto, Kingston, London and New Brunswick have been assisting Hydro Ottawa crews. Conrad said another 50 contractors joined the effort on Sunday, and more arrived on Monday.

“I fully appreciate the level of frustration and anger that many of you are dealing with and will continue to deal with until the restoration is complete,” Conrad said.  “All of our resources – internal staff, contractors and neighbouring utility workers – will remain fully engaged and deployed until such time as we have connected every resident and business in Ottawa.”

Hydro Ottawa’s Director of System Operations Joseph Muglia says the areas hardest hit by the storm are the areas still in the dark.

“We are continuing our efforts 100 per cent,” Muglia said on Sunday. “If you don’t see our trucks, we haven’t forgotten about you, we know about you. Between our complicated system office and eyes in the field, we know the areas so I don’t want anyone thinking we don’t know about them because we do.

“Our system tells us what’s out and we need to get our folks out in the field so we know exactly what we’re dealing with before we energize.”

Hydro Quebec is reporting 1,200 customers still without electricity in the Outaouais as of Monday evening. Hydro One is reporting 7,600 people without power in Eastern Ontario.

SCHOOLS

The Ottawa-Carleton District School Board says Merivale, Brookfield, and Bell high schools will remain closed Tuesday because they have no power. Students will be learning remotely. Families of children who attend Arch Street Public School can expect an update from the school Monday, as power is expected to be restored Monday evening. Castor Valley Elementary School will continue with remote learning on Tuesday, but will re-open for in person learning on Wednesday.

The Ottawa Catholic School Board says Sacred Heart and St. Monica schools remain without power. Virtual learning in the catholic board began Monday.

Schools with electricity are open as normal.

Details on school bus route cancellations are available on the Ottawa Student Transportation Authority website.

COMMUNITY SUPPORT CENTRES

The city of Ottawa is opening four Community Support Centres for residents today, offering access to staff from city services, the Canadian Red Cross and the Insurance Bureau of Canada.

The city says the centres will have information related to general insurance, housing and financial services, building and demolition permit requirements and processes, public health, psychosocial support, and more.

Each location will provide access to charging stations for electronic devices, showers and washrooms.

The four Community Support Centres will be open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. The locations are:

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