Hydro Ottawa says current outages are far worse than ice storm and tornadoes

Hydro Ottawa says the damage from Saturday’s storm is “simply beyond comprehension” as it is bringing in reinforcements to help with repairs.

More than 200,000 people in the area are still without power and Hydro Ottawa says no part of the city has been spared.

“This event is far worse than the 1998 ice storm and the 2018 tornadoes. This level of damage to our distribution system is simply beyond comprehension,” Hydro Ottawa said in a letter sent to the mayor on Sunday.

Hydro Ottawa outage map

Joseph Muglia, director of system operations and grid automation for Hydro Ottawa, told CBC Ottawa morning new contractors are onboarded on Tuesday and teams from Kingston and New Brunswick are coming to help.

“The outages we’re seeing right now are Hydro Ottawa outages,” he said, noting that just over 200 utility poles are down in the city. “My guess would be sort of later this week when some of those areas will be back.”

Prioritize the restoration of electricity to vulnerable residents

Muglia said Hydro Ottawa has taken “leaps and bounds” and restored power for about 70,000 people so far.

“While the number of customers is high, it has come considerably from where it was,” he said, adding that between Monday and Tuesday he expects to make “significant progress.”

A utility worker documents damage along Merivale Road in Ottawa after a major storm downed utility poles and lines in the area on May 21, 2022. (Justin Tang/The Canadian Press)

Mayor Jim Watson said the city is trying to prioritize restoring power to vulnerable residents.

“These economically challenged people are living in affordable housing, who don’t have the luxury of going out and doing all the shopping because obviously their groceries have been wasted due to the lack of electricity,” he said. he declared.

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He said while the 2018 tornado that hit Ottawa was confined to a specific area, Saturday’s storm system “moved through virtually the entire city, through rural Ottawa, suburban Ottawa, downtown City of Ottawa”.

As many traffic lights remain off, he warned drivers to stay safe.

“There were a lot of yahoos running through traffic lights, not caring about other people and not doing it in a courteous manner,” he said. “We don’t want another accident to happen because someone is stupid or insane and drains our emergency resources even further.”