Hydro Ottawa promises 'the bulk of the system' will be restored by Friday night
The president of Hydro Ottawa says "with a little bit of luck" power will be restored in the Merivale Road area on Thursday, bringing power to another 15,000 to 20,000 customers still in the dark following Saturday's storm.
And Bryce Conrad says the goal remains to have "the bulk" of power restored to homes and businesses across the city by the end of Friday.
Ninety-six hours after a devastating storm hit Ottawa with winds up to 190 km/h, approximately 55,000 homes and businesses remain without power. Electricity has been restored to more than 125,000 customers across the city.
Conrad told Newstalk 580 CFRA's "Ottawa Now with Kristy Cameron" that crews are working 16-hour shifts to restore power, with the focus now on the hard hit areas of Merivale Road, Woodroffe Avenue and Greenbank Road.
"(Tuesday), today and tomorrow are big construction days," Conrad said of the focus on repairing downed hydro poles. "All the damage that's been done on Merivale, Woodroffe, Greenbank so we've got crews all out there sort of putting those up."
Dozens of hydro poles litter Merivale, Woodroffe and Greenbank following the storm, leaving several neighbourhoods without power.
Conrad says Hydro Ottawa has a "pretty good handle" on the damage along Merivale Road, and restoring power along those lines will "move the needle in terms of outage numbers."
"We're there, we're getting that work done – we'll be there all day and all night and hopefully, with a bit of luck, we'll be able to energize that line," Conrad said.
"When we pick those lines up and those poles, the expectation is that it's probably another 15-20,000 customers that will likely come back onto the grid. Again, there may be some damage to individual houses along the way."
The city of Ottawa says approximately 75 intersections are still without power, and will "be addressed" as power is restored. Over 120 intersections damaged by the storm have been repaired, according to the city.
Conrad says hydro crews are still finding more damage in pockets across the city as they work to restore electricity.
Hydro crews from Toronto arrived in Ottawa on Wednesday, and London and Cornwall will be sending crews to assist with the restoration efforts on Thursday. There are 250 additional hydro workers working with Hydro Ottawa crews in the field.
Hydro Ottawa calls the Pineglen neighbourhood "ground zero" for the storm, and crews are working to restore power in that area.
Conrad says he is holding the team to the commitment of restoring electricity to the "bulk" of customers over the next two days, but rain in the forecast could slow down the repair work.
"The bulk of the system will be up by Friday – I'm praying the rain holds off and I'm praying that we still have a couple good days of weather," Conrad said.
"When the rain comes, there’s limits on the work they can do. They obviously can’t do live line work, so that will hamper the restoration somewhat," he added. "The good news is there’s lots of constriction work, lots of tree removal that can be done. They’ll work to the safe limits of the operation."
Conrad says there will be a "significant number of homes" that will require additional work to have power restored, and Hydro Ottawa crews are on standby to assist.
"It is effectively houses where we've restored the system and whether there's damage to the meter, damage to the mast, damage to the secondary lines going into their house – those are all things that happen after a normal storm event," Conrad told CTV news Ottawa's Ted Raymond. "Given the violence of this particular storm, I would expect that number could quite frankly be in the thousands."
Hydro One was reporting more than 24,200 customers in eastern Ontario still without power Wednesday afternoon, down from 49,000 Tuesday afternoon. The mayor of Carleton Place said most of the town had power on Wednesday afternoon.
Hydro Quebec said there were still 14,400 customers in the Outaouais region to be connected, down from 21,000 on Tuesday.
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