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Ice storm aftermath: warm weather brings more outages – Canada – CBC News

Ice storm aftermath: warm weather brings more outages – Canada – CBC News.

Rob Ford on ice storm efforts

Rob Ford on ice storm efforts 9:13

What 7 days without power is like

What 7 days without power is like 3:58

Tens of thousands still in the dark in Ontario

Tens of thousands still in the dark in Ontario 3:36

The little generator that could

The little generator that could2:11

About 30,000 customers in Ontario and New Brunswick remain in the dark one week after a major ice storm blanketed Central and Atlantic Canada, and warming temperatures have caused new power outages in Toronto.

Toronto Hydro CEO Anthony Haines said early Saturday that melting ice falling from trees and other structures has led to fresh damage. At about 1 a.m. ET the number of customers without power had dropped below 20,000 for the first time, but by 8 a.m. it was back up to around 23,000. The number is hovering at 18,000 as of mid-afternoon Saturday.

“Over the morning hours we’ve been moving backwards, but I’m sure our crews will attend to those and we’ll start moving in the right direction again over the next couple of hours,” he told CBC News Network.

Calling it a “story of ups and downs,” Haines pointed out that  the current tally — 18,000 — is about the same number that crews have been bringing power to each day.

The falling ice caused at least one injury when a Hamilton worker was struck in the head, Toronto Mayor Rob Ford said. Officials couldn’t provide an update on the worker’s condition.

“This is Day 7 and there’s light at the end of the tunnel,” said Ford in an interview with CBC News midday Saturday.  “What that day is, I can not tell you…We’re trying our best.”

CANADA/About 25,000 customers in Ontario are still without power on Saturday morning. (Mark Blinch/Reuters)

In response to the backlash the mayor and other officials have received from people still without power, Ford said “it tears my heart out.”

“We have crews from Ottawa, we have crews from Windsor,” he said.  “I share their frustration…it’s all hands on deck [and] we are moving as fast as we can.”

Haines said computer simulations have shown three days, but that there are variables at work like the new outages and the arrival of more crews. The provincial utility, Hydro One, said the outages outside Toronto are largely over, which has allowed it to send crews in to help the city.

“I’m hopeful certainly by the early part of next week the vast majority of customers will be back,” Haines said.

Working around the clock

Haines, who noted that the average Toronto Hydro customer is equivalent to 2½ people, said he sympathizes with people.

“What we can do is work around the clock and we can bring extra resources in from far and wide … we will not stop until the power is on for everybody,” he said.

  • Toronto Hydro says it is receiving assistance from a number of other utilities, including Hydro Ottawa, Sault Ste. Marie PUC, Enwin (Windsor) and Manitoba Hydro.
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Haines and Toronto Community Housing CEO Gene Jones (who is still dealing with outages in about 80 housing units) said they will perform a postmortem after the outages are over to see what they might do better next time.

Haines stressed the enormous scope of the damage:

  • Forty per cent of the city’s power lines, which would cross Canada twice, have been affected by the storm.
  • Thirty-thousand pieces of equipment have been installed back into the grid and about 47,000 metres of cable have gone back up into the air.
  • The City of Toronto says about 20 per cent of the city’s tree canopy has been damaged and it could take seven weeks to clean up all the fallen limbs, Haines said.

Amid the rising anger and frustration of those still in the dark, utility companies are pleading for patience, saying crews are working around the clock and nothing else can be done to speed up the process.

That’s little consolation for people who have been in the dark for a week, including Carmen Andronesu, who is one of more than 1,000 residents who live in a condo complex in Toronto’s north end.

“No matter how much you try calling here and there, it’s like you cannot find help from anywhere,” she said.

Wynne promises help for food spoilage

In a morning news conference, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne said the concern she’s heard most around the province is spoiled food. She said she’s looking at providing help and would offer details over the next couple of days when a plan had been confirmed.

“We’ve reached out to food suppliers to try to come up with a way of compensating people and getting some extra food — or food vouchers, something to folks, so that’s what we’re working out over the next couple of days,” she said.

Ford said Toronto won’t be looking into any sort of compensation until the power has been restored.

“I can’t give any numbers or any assurances that we can reimburse anyone,” Ford said.

11,000 without power in N.B.

About 11,000 customers in New Brunswick are also struggling through a long power outage, mostly in St. Stephen and the Saint John area.

Some people won’t have their power restored until the new year, according to a tweet from NB Power on Saturday. Gaetan Thomas, the utility’s CEO, said extra crews are being brought in from Quebec tonight, which means more than 200 crews will be working in the province to restore electricity.

Thomas said another large storm, forecast for tomorrow, will also hinder their efforts as it brings freezing rain and snow.

In the rural southern New Brunswick community of Titusville, people without power have been heading to the generator-powered general store to buy kerosene, propane, candles and water.

Owner Mark Carline said the storm and outage has caused him to reflect.

“I think we were all reminded and humbled by the fact that at any given time we could be set back to this state, where we’re scrambling [to get] the basic necessities.”

In Quebec, the outages are almost over: Hydro-Québec tweeted late Friday night that they were “almost there” with only about 400 customers left who needed power restored.

 

Ontario storms cause widespread power outages – Canada – CBC News

Ontario storms cause widespread power outages – Canada – CBC News.

Hydro One crews are on scene after severe storms uprooted a tree in Toronto. The tree fell on two vehicles.Hydro One crews are on scene after severe storms uprooted a tree in Toronto. The tree fell on two vehicles. (Tony Smyth/CBC)

A line of severe storms swept across southern and eastern Ontario Sunday night, bringing heavy rain and winds gusting to 90 km/h.

Hydro One says at the height of the storm the power was knocked out to well over 100,000 homes and businesses between Windsor and the Kingston area.

The power was back on for some by 6 a.m., but through the early morning some 86,000 Hydro One customers were still without power.

High winds responsible for outages across the province. Crews working to restore power to those affected.

— Hydro One (@HydroOne) November 18, 2013

In the Greater Toronto Area some 70,000 customers were left in the dark, and another 24,000 in London. Crews worked through the night to get the lights back on, though by early morning “small pockets” of Toronto were still without power according to Toronto Hydro.

We’re experiencing outages in a few small pockets as a result of winds. Approx. 150 customers affected. Hope to have all restored by 6 a.m.

— Toronto Hydro (@TorontoHydro) November 18, 2013

The weather system roared into Ontario after punishing the American Midwest with tornadoes and thunderstorms that left at least six dead in Illinois.

In the central Illinois town of Washington, a twister obliterated entire neighbourhoods, flipping vehicles, uprooting trees, and ripping down power lines.

The storms also caused damage in Kentucky, Wisconsin, Indiana, Ohio and Michigan.

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