'Bulk' of Ottawa grid should have power by Friday, Hydro Ottawa says

The president of Hydro Ottawa is hopeful "the bulk" of the power grid will be restored by Friday night, but is warning some homes will not have power restored immediately due to significant damage on the property.

Five days after a devastating storm hit Ottawa with wind gusts of 190 km/h, 37,000 homes and businesses remain without power. As of Thursday evening, power had been restored to 143,000 customers.

"Crews are continuing to work around the clock and it's our sincere hope, weather permitting, that we'll have the bulk of our power system up and running by tomorrow night," Hydro Ottawa president and CEO Bryce Conrad said Thursday afternoon.

"The bulk of our power system is the key phrase … think of it like our own road network. We'll have the large arterial roads open for power and we'll have power running to most, if not all of our communities.

"But we'll have roads and cul-de-sac here and there where the power is interrupted because of trees or damage to conductors or other debris."

Hydro Ottawa says it hopes to energize all or parts of the following communities on Thursday:

  • Bel Air Heights in the Iris area
  • The Overbrook area
  • Village of Richmond
  • Alta Vista
  • Colonnade area
  • Merivale Road south of Hunt Club Road and north of Slack Road

Conrad admits Hydro Ottawa expects to find "a significant number of houses" that have sustained damage to the electrical equipment, which will need to be repaired before a house is reenergized.

Immediately after last Saturday's storm, approximately 180,000 Hydro Ottawa customers had lost power. Since then, crews from Toronto, Kingston, Cornwall and London have worked with Hydro Ottawa to repair the damage and restore power.

"I fundamentally believe that there's a lack of appreciation for just how devastating this storm was. From Windsor through Toronto and Peterborough and Ottawa and into Quebec this storm was unlike anything any of us have ever seen or dealt with before," Conrad said.

"This was not a typical ice storm or wind storm that knocks down a few poles and where 15,000 to 20,000 people lose power for a few hours. That is an inconvenience in the grand scheme of things."

Conrad says over 300 hydro poles have been replaced, and the cleanup will continue for weeks.

"The damage to our distribution system is simply beyond comparison. Early on, I said it was worse than both the tornadoes in 2018 and the ice storm in 98," Conrad said. "What I can say now is that's anywhere from four to five times worse than the tornadoes."

WEATHER COULD HAMPER EFFORTS

Hydro Ottawa says Thursday morning's rain did not slow down repair operation across Ottawa on Thursday.

"The crews have been working full out. We've been monitoring it, obviously, from safety perspectives," Conrad said, adding the 40 km/h winds is still within "safe operations."

With more rain in the forecast for Friday and the weekend, Conrad said crews would be on the lookout for possible heavy rains and winds.

"If that comes, we'll deal with it."

Environment Canada’s weather forecast calls for a 60 per cent chance of showers on Thursday and a 70 per cent chance on Friday.

Letter from Hydro sent tonight at 9pm. Progress made today, still 53,000 customers out. Hoping weather in the next two days doesn’t hamper efforts. Letter doesn’t mention Old #Ottawa South but hydro has crews assessing and repairing here. #OttawaOutage #Ottnews #Ottawastorm pic.twitter.com/yl8MBAHT85

— Shawn Menard (@ShawnMenard1) May 26, 2022

HYDRO ONE

Hydro One warns residents in Bancroft, Perth and Tweed regions could be without power "for several days" as repairs continue.

As of Thursday morning, 18,000 Hydro One customers in eastern Ontario remained without power.

Hydro One told customers the damage includes more than 1,800 broken poles and nearly 200 damaged transformers.

HYDRO QUEBEC

Fewer than 9,000 customers are still without power in Gatineau and western Quebec.

Hydro Quebec continues efforts to restore power to customers in the Outaouais following the storm last Thursday.

CLEANUP CONTINUES ACROSS OTTAWA

The city of Ottawa says the rain in the forecast won't slow down the cleanup across the storm.

Six-hundred public works employees continue to focus on cleaning up debris and collecting green bin and garbage across the city.

"I can assure you that our crews, in terms of Public Works and our partners, will continue to be out there, continuing to focus on restoring the transportation system, finalizing our collection of the food waste and also the massive effort that's underway right now in terms of collecting all the debris," said Alain Gonthier, general manager of Public Works.

Crews have collected 33 tonnes of organic waste through the "Green Bin Blitz" the city launched to collect food waste. 

The special bins set up at 15 locations across the city to dispose of organic waste will remain set up until Saturday.

OTTAWA'S TRAFFIC NETWORK

Fifty-four intersections are still without power 120 hours after the storm hit Ottawa.

"We're making very good progress," Gonthier said of restoring traffic signals, adding most of the intersections still without power are along Merivale Road.

Half of the intersections out of service due to a lack of power are operating on generators during peak hours.

EMERGENCY RECEPTION CENTRES

The city of Ottawa says Emergency Reception Centres will be open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

The following facilities offer power for charging devices, showers, washrooms, food and Red Cross:

The following facilities offer power for charging devices, showers, and washrooms:

The following facility offers power for charging devices and washrooms:

WHAT TO DO WITH YOUR DEBRIS?

The city of Ottawa is offering tips to dispose of your waste as the cleanup continues from Saturday's storm.

You can put your household waste at the curb as part of your regular garbage and recycling collection.

Organic waste can be placed in your green bin, which is picked up weekly.  The city of Ottawa is carrying out a "green bin blitz" in the neighbourhoods hardest hit by the storm to ensure organic waste is collected as soon as possible. Visit ottawa.ca for more information.

HERE'S WHAT TO DO WITH STORM-RELATED WASTE

The city asks residents to separate storm-related waste from any trees or branches when you put them out at the curb. 

The city's landfill at the Trail Waste Facility on Trail Road is offering extended hours to accommodate special collections and will waive tipping fees for residents with storm-related materials.

Logs, large tree limbs and pressure-treated wood can be placed at the curb for collection.

"Please separate brush-like tree cuttings or branches form non-organic storm-related waste," the city recommends.