Hydro Ottawa 'will not meet' commitment to restore power to bulk of grid by Friday night
Hydro Ottawa will miss its target to restore power to "the bulk" of homes and businesses across Ottawa by Friday night, as the rainy weather and significant damage to the grid slows down restoration efforts.
As of Friday evening, 26,000 Hydro Ottawa customers remain without power in all neighbourhoods of the city, nearly a week after a devastating storm hit the capital with wind gusts of up to 190 km/h. Since the storm hit last Saturday afternoon, hydro crews have restored power to 151,000 customers.
"I've constantly stated that we were been targeting today to get the bulk power system back up and running ... the weather this morning and the level of additional damage that we're finding to our equipment, we will not meet that commitment," Hydro Ottawa president and CEO Bryce Conrad said Friday afternoon.
"The work is complicated, dangerous and time consuming."
Conrad later said that while the "weather didn't cooperate" with restoration efforts, it's not the reason the Friday night deadline was missed.
"I think it has a whole lot more to do with the sheer amount of damage that we're finding."
Crews from Toronto, Kingston, Cornwall, London and other regions have been working with Hydro Ottawa to repair the damage and restore power.
"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."
Hydro crews are working in the following communities on Friday:
- Parkwood Hills
- Fisher Glen
- Carleton Heights
- Pineglen Annex
- Parkway Park
- Bel Air Heights
- Fisher Heights
- Cityview Skyline
- Fisher Heights
"As we get down to these smaller numbers, I know there is a natural sense that certain pockets of this city are quote-unquote being ignored or left behind," Conrad said. "Let me assure you, you are not. We know you are there and we know you are counting on us and we will restore your power."
Hydro Ottawa says "significant work" remains in three specific neighbourhoods – Parkwood Hills, a portion of Anderson Road and Bells Corners.
Coun. Keith Egli said he followed up with Hydro Ottawa to find out about the damage in Parkwood Hills.
"Unfortunately it means Parkwood Hills, General Burns and Fisher Heights. The communities will not be getting power today," Egli said on Twitter.
Hydro Ottawa says power has been restored in the following neighbourhoods on Thursday and Friday.
- Bel Air Park
- Braemar Park
- Bel Air Heights
- Copeland Park
- Lynwood Village
- Parkway Park (east of Cobden, west of Woodroffe, north of Baseline)
- Bel Air Heights
- Parts of Alta Vista
- Colonnade and Prince of Wales (near Colonnade)
- Merivale Road (south of Hunt Club, north of Slack Road and west of Merivale)
- Chapman Mills
- Gloucester Glen
- West Dunrobin
- Greenbelt -Mitch Owens/Leitrim
- Canterbury-Urbandale & nearby spots
- Shillington Ave
- Carlingwood/McKeller Height
In a letter to council late Thursday evening, Conrad said the "level of damage is greater than we previously anticipated", which could slow down restoration efforts.
"Owing to the level of damage and the impending weather expected (Friday), there may be some communities where we are not able to meet that timeline," Conrad wrote. "Moreover, within communities that are re-energized, there will be some pockets of customers that are still off, as a result of additional damage to that circuit, tree contacts or other debris."
Across eastern Ontario, 6,959 Hydro One customers remained without power as of Friday evening.
Hydro Quebec says 3.972 customers remain without power in the Outaouais as of Friday evening.
CLEANING THE CAPITAL
The city of Ottawa is launching a special "Cleaning the Capital: After the Storm" campaign, with volunteers helping to cleanup neighbourhoods.
Ottawa's general manager of Emergency and Protective Services Kim Ayotte says the program will allow residents to work together to cleanup neighbourhoods 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, May 28, 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
You can also volunteer with the Samaritan's Purse, which will coordinate the removal of debris from residents' private properties in hard hit areas.
OTTAWA TRAFFIC LIGHTS/ROADS
The city of Ottawa says progress continues on restoring traffic signals and opening roads following the storm.
There are 40 roads closed across Ottawa due to downed trees and power lines.
"We expect to get through a lot more of those in the coming week," said Alain Gonthier, Ottawa's general manager of public works.
Gonthier says approximately 50 intersections remain without working traffic signals, including along Merivale Road.
"We expect that a number of them will be coming online as soon as hydro is restored to the area," Gonthier said.
Some Ottawa schools will be closed for a fourth day due to a lack of power at the buildings.
A full list of schools is available here.
The Ottawa Student Transportation Authority is advising parents, guardians and students to check school bus plans before heading out the door.
CLEANUP ACROSS OTTAWA
The city of Ottawa says heavy equipment will be used in the four hardest hit areas to assist with the cleanup operations. The four hardest hit areas are Cumberland, Knoxdale-Merivale, River ward and Stittsville.
Public Works General Manager Alain Gonthier says cleanup operations "of a different scale" will be conducted in the four areas, especially around Pineglen/Knoxdale-Merivale area.
"Just because the level of the damage that area has sustained," Gonthier said.
The city says public works staff will be focusing on removing branches, trees and debris across the city.
PRICE TAG FOR THE STORM
The city of Ottawa and Hydro Ottawa both say it's too soon to say how much the storm will cost.
City Manager Steve Kanellakos says the city is tracking all costs, but it's "way too early" to capture all the overtime costs for city staff, police and emergency crews.
Mayor Jim Watson said earlier this week Premier Doug Ford promised the city that the Ontario government will cover the cost of the storm.
The city of Ottawa says bins will remain in place for organics-only waste at 15 locations until Saturday.
The locations are:
- CARDELREC Recreation Complex Goulbourn at 1500 Shea Rd.
- Navan Memorial Centre at 1295 Colonial Rd.
- Hunt Club-Riverside Park Community Centre at 3320 Paul Anka Dr.
- Howard Darwin Centennial Arena at 1765 Merivale Rd.
- Minto Recreation Complex at 3500 Cambrian Rd.
- Walter Baker Sports Centre at 100 Malvern Dr.
- Osgoode Community Centre at 5660 Osgoode Main St.
- Orléans Library at 1705 Orléans Blvd.
- Lincoln Heights parking lot near Richmond Road and Croydon Ave.
- Greely Community Center at 1448 Meadow Dr.
- North Gower Client Service Centre at 2155 Roger Stevens Dr.
- Richmond Arena at 6095 Perth St.
- Constance Bay Community Center at 262 Len Purcell Dr.
- Sawmill Creek Community Centre at 3350 D’aoust Ave.
- Diamond Jubilee Park at 4008 Kelly Farm Dr.
The green bin blitz will wrap up on Saturday as well.
The city estimates 33 tonnes of organic waste has been collected during the green bin "blitz" in neighbourhoods this week.