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Increased air conditioning use likely to blame for hydro outage in Ottawa's west end, utility says

Residents turning up the air conditioners on the hottest June 1 in Ottawa history likely caused hydro systems to overload, knocking out power to customers in the west end, Hydro Ottawa says.

Thousands of residents and businesses spent several hours in the dark and without air conditioning as the temperature hit 35 C Thursday evening.

Hydro Ottawa reported 8,500 customers in Kanata South, Kanata North, Stittsville and West Carleton-March lost power just before 6 p.m. Thursday.

Hydro was fully restored to all customers overnight.

The utility says the outage was due to some stations in the area becoming overloaded.

"We can speculate at the moment due to increased AC use yesterday," Hydro Ottawa said on Twitter Friday morning.

Hydro Ottawa said Thursday night that the outage was "likely due to the heat and AC being on."

In a statement to CTV News Ottawa on Friday, Hydro Ottawa says strain on the system can cause power outages.

"While Hydro Ottawa’s distribution system is built with sufficient capacity to accommodate summer peak loads, sometimes strain on the system can happen as a result of a sudden increased demand, resulting in outages," the utility said. "While this weather makes our system work harder, we are not experiencing any problems related to the peak demand."

The temperature hit 35.1 C in Ottawa on Thursday, the warmest temperature recorded in Ottawa on June 1. 

A heat warning remains in effect for the city of Ottawa, with relief from the warm temperatures not expected until the weekend.

Hydro Ottawa offers the following tips to reduce demand on the system:

  • Setting air conditioners to 26 C or higher, or use fans as an alternative
  • Turning off unnecessary lights and appliances
  • Closing curtains and blinds to keep out the sun and retain cooler air inside
  • Delaying the use of dishwashers, washers, dryers and pool pumps until after 8:00 p.m.

With files from CTV News Ottawa's Natalie van Rooy Top Stories

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