Thousands still without power nine days after storm hits Ottawa

Thousands of Ottawa residents are ending a second weekend in the dark, as Hydro Ottawa continues the “last phase” of work to restore power to homes and businesses following a devastating storm.

As of 8 p.m. Sunday, 9,000 customers across the city remained without power nine days after the storm hit with wind gusts of 190 km/h. Hydro Ottawa says since the storm on May 21, approximately 94 per cent of the 180,000 customers impacted by the storm have had their power restored.

“We continue to work in a number of neighbourhoods, focusing on those neighbourhoods so that we can bring up as many as possible by the end of today,” said Hydro Ottawa’s Director of System Operations Joseph Muglia, speaking with Newstalk 580 CFRA’s CFRA Live with Andrew Pinsent Sunday morning.

Muglia said it’s “unbelievable” to see the damage in Fisher Heights, PineGlen and Merivale Road areas.

“The pockets that are left, they’re the hardest hit. They have the most mature trees,” Muglia said. “It’s not just putting up the lines, it’s still clearing the brush, clearing those big trees that have come down, getting them out of the way, getting the debris out of the way so that we can work and get the lines back up and, in a lot of cases, restore poles as well.”

More than a dozen schools will remain closed in Ottawa on Monday due to the power outages, and the city of Ottawa is opening “one-stop shops” for community support information.

Hydro Ottawa says with crews in the “last phase of restoration efforts”, they are focusing on the following areas today.

  • Bells Corners east and Lynwood Village
  • Carlingwood west, Glaber Park, Mckellar Heights and Whitehaven
  • City View, Crestview and Meadowlands Drive
  • Cityview Skyline, Fisher Heights
  • Fisher Glen
  • Lincoln Heights and Britannia Heights
  • Merivale Gardens and areas around Merivale Road
  • Pauline Vanier Park
  • Pineglen Annex
  • Queensway Terrace South and Ridgeview
  • Riverside Park and Hog’s Back

Some sections of Alta Vista ward were coming back online Sunday evening. Hydro Ottawa said the “scoping of work has been completed” in Alta Vista and crews will be onsite Sunday night and Monday to restore neighbourhoods. 

Hydro Ottawa says crews are placing a “heavy emphasis in those areas that were hardest hit”, and the goal is to restore the “bulk energy system” as quickly as possible.

“We are close and with another day of heavy work, we believe that we will have power running to all circuits in the distribution system tomorrow night,” said a memo to council from Hydro Ottawa Saturday night.

“Please understand, this is by no means a sure thing nor does it imply that everyone will have power. As I have stated from the outset, there are plenty of pockets with heavy damage that will preclude or inhibit energization.”

Hydro Ottawa provided an outline to councillors Saturday on the largest 13 remaining outages by customer count.

  • Carleton Square, Cityview, Skyline, Fisher Heights, Parkwood Hills, Carleton Heights – 1,725 customers
  • Whitehaven, Carlingwood West, Glabar Park, McKellar Heights – 1,403 customers
  • Manordale and Crestview Area – 1,373 customers
  • PineGlen, PineGlen Annex, part of Merivale Road and Prince of Wales – 983 customers
  • Parts of Riverside South and Hogs Back – 962 customers
  • West of Merivale, along Viewmount, south of Viewmount to tracks, to Glenmanor Drive – 565 customers
  • Ridegeview park area – 535 customers
  • Carleton Square, Cityview, Skyline, Fisher Heights, Parkwood Hills, Carleton Heights – 535 customers (different circuit)
  • Along Meadowlands, west of Merivale, to Perry and Rowely – 502 customers
  • New Grasshopper Hill Park and Parkland – 497 customers
  • Lennox Park Avenue, Knox Crescent, Drake Avenue, Dorion Avenue – 427 customers
  • Pinecrest Park – 420 customers
  • South of CHEO, north of Pleasant Park, between Riverside Campus and Lynda Lane Park – 380 customers

“The next part of the restoration is complex as a result of remaining debris, fallen trees and branches and/or damage to customer-owned equipment,” Hydro Ottawa said in a statement Saturday afternoon.

“If customers notice their electrical equipment (such as service masts, meterbase, or wires running from the meterbase into the electrical panel within the house) has been damaged, they may need to make repairs to their owned equipment before Hydro Ottawa is able to reconnect power.”

Hydro Ottawa says as crews finish the large construction projects, they will be broken down and assigned to smaller teams to cover smaller pockets were power is still off.

CTVNewsOttawa’s Natalie van Rooy asked Hydro Ottawa on Saturday if power could be restored by the end of the weekend.

“That’s certainly our hope,” Muglia said.

Muglia says Hydro Ottawa is “hoping to have the bulk supply” back by the end of the weekend, which would be electricity feeding into neighbourhoods.

“We are spread out across the city … we are focusing on those areas that need the little bit of extra attention.”

Hydro crews from New Brunswick, London, Ont., Toronto and Kingston remain in Ottawa to assist with the cleanup.

“WE HAVE NOT FORGOTTEN YOU,” HYDRO OTTAWA SAYS

Frustration has been building across Ottawa this weekend, as residents spend a second weekend without power following the May 21 storm.

Muglia insists Hydro Ottawa will continue to work 24/7 until the entire grid is restored.

“We are hoping that the residents can bear with us a bit longer,” Muglia said.

“This was such a widespread hit to our city. There’s a tremendous amount of trees on wires and broken poles that we are still dealing with.”

Muglia adds Hydro Ottawa has not forgotten the 18,000 customers still without power.

“There are residents that feel we have forgotten about them. I can guarantee you we have not forgotten about them,” Muglia said Saturday.

“We are aware of every feeder that has disruption to it. Even though you may see a street over from you, a street that has power and you don’t – rest assured, we have not forgotten anybody.”

HYDRO ONE AND HYDRO QUEBEC

Hydro One is reporting just under 12,000 customers across Ontario remain without power Sunday morning. The utility says it has switched on more than 750,000 customers since the storm last Saturday.

Whie progress is being made, Hydro One warns that some of the most remote areas may be waiting several more days, or possibly weeks, to have power restored. 

More than 1,900 hydro poles were destroyed by the storm.

Hydro Quebec reported 6,300 customers across the province remained without power Sunday morning, the majority of which are in the Laurentides area. In the Outaouais region, just under 1,000 customers have yet to be hooked back up to the grid. The majority of customers in Gatineau have had power restored; however, there are outages scattered across the Outaouais region in places like La Peche and Val-des-Monts.

SCHOOLS

The Ottawa Carleton District School Board and Ottawa Catholic School Board say schools will open for in-person learning on Monday if they have power.

Schools will open on Monday if power has been restored to the building by 3 p.m. Sunday.

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

FOOD WASTE

All organics only waste bins have been removed from the 15 sites across the city.

For information on waste disposal options, visit the city of Ottawa’s website.

CLEANING THE CAPITAL

The city of Ottawa launched a new neighbourhood cleanup program, called “Cleaning the Capital: After the Storm.”

Much like the annual Cleaning the Captial Program, neighbours, families and friends can work together to cleanup their neighbourhood following the storm. Residents are asked to complete the electronic registration form for the “Cleaning the Capital” program.

Supplies will be available for pickup as of Saturday, between 10 a.m. and 10 p.m., 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

The city is also in partnership with Samaritan’s Purse, a non-government organization, and will provide support to residents who have been impacted on their private property. For more information, visit samaritanspurse.ca/ottawavolunteer.

Volunteers are asked to bring the following:

  • weather-appropriate clothing that may get dirty, wet, or damaged
  • work gloves if you have them, otherwise they can be provided
  • close-toed footwear (ideally steel-toed boots)

Please do not bring your own equipment or tools to a Samaritan’s Purse project.

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