Hydro Ottawa says "we are close" to restoring power to the "bulk energy system" as crews enter "the last phase" of restoration efforts, and the power should return to all circuits across the city of Ottawa by Sunday night.
One week after a storm hit Ottawa with wind gusts of 190 km/h, 16,000 customers remain without power across the city of Ottawa. Hydro Ottawa said Saturday afternoon that power has been restored to 90 per cent of the 180,000 customers impacted by the storm.
"Right now we are continuing our focus on some of the more hard-hit areas," Hydro Ottawa director of system operations and grid automation Joseph Muglia said Saturday afternoon. "Crews are still across the city … they're not localized in any particular order or any particular neighbourhood. They're spread out."
CTV News Ottawa's Natalie van Rooy asked Muglia if Hydro Ottawa hopes to have all customers restored by the end of the weekend.
"That's our goal," Muglia said. "Reducing that number right down to zero as much as we can… that's certainly our goal."
In a memo to councillors Saturday evening, Hydro Ottawa said another 4,000 to 5,000 customers should be restored overnight.
"We are close and with another day of heavy work, we believe that we will have power running to all circuits in the distribution system tomorrow night," the memo said.
"Please understand, this is by no means a sure thing nor does it imply that everyone will have power. As I have stated from the outset, there are plenty of pockets with heavy damage that will preclude or inhibit energization."
Hydro Ottawa says as crews finish the large projects, they will be broken down and assigned to smaller teams to cover "small pockets where power is still off."
Hydro Ottawa initially promised to restore power to "the bulk of the grid" by Friday evening, but rainy conditions Thursday and Friday and the extent of the damage and debris in some areas slowed down recovery efforts.
In a statement Saturday afternoon, Hydro Ottawa said, "We are now entering the last phase of restoration targeting the remaining isolated outages."
Crews are working in the following neighourhoods today.
"The next part of the restoration is complex as a result of remaining debris, fallen trees and branches and/or damage to customer-owned equipment," Hydro Ottawa said.
Hydro Ottawa provided an outline to councillors on the largest 13 remaining outages by customer count and ward.
One councillor warns it could be next week before power is restored to some pockets of his ward due to the extent of the damage.
Coun. Riley Brockington tweeted that 14 homes without power in the Carleton Heights and Courtland Park area will have to wait until Wednesday to get back power due to damage to a circuit. Brockington said damage to the circuit in some areas will also take time to fix.
Hydro crews from New Brunswick, London, Ont., Kingston and Toronto are working with Hydro Ottawa in the field to help restore power.
Muglia thanked customers for their patience while crews restore power to the entire city.
"We are hoping to have the bulk supply of all of our customers back by probably the end of the weekend," Muglia told CTV News Ottawa. "What I mean by that is the feeds to all of those pockets to where the customers are ….. we are expecting to have that back."
Hydro Ottawa outlined the extent of the damage to the grid on Friday night, with president and CEO Bryce Conrad saying approximately 400 hydro poles were damaged by the storm.
"From a construction perspective, we have done nearly a year's worth of construction in the past six days," Conrad said.
"While that is of small consolation to the customers that remain without power, it is nonetheless evidence of our commitment to a fully re-energized community."
During the tornadoes in 2018, 80 Hydro Ottawa poles were damaged.
Hydro Ottawa still has over "150 events" to be managed and completed, according to Conrad.
"We have a list of over 1,500 known or reported tree contacts/tree interference which needs to be addressed and resolved. And as we do additional restoration work, these numbers have the potential to increase," Conrad said.
"The good news is that we have all of the resources – both forestry and utility crews – that we need to restore power as quickly as we can."
Tonight’s update from Hydro Ottawa CEO, Bryce Conrad. Work in affected areas continues. I just heard more of Manotick came back online but more to come. Hopefully, more tonight. pic.twitter.com/JLDPlInURi— Scott Moffatt (@ScottMoffatt21) May 28, 2022
The city of Ottawa is launching a new neighbourhood cleanup program, called "Cleaning the Capital: After the Storm."
Much like the annual Cleaning the Captial Program, neighbours, families and friends can work together to cleanup their neighbourhood 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, between 10 a.m. and 10 p.m., at the following locations:
The city is also in partnership with Samaritan’s Purse, a non-government organization, and will provide support to residents who have been impacted on their private property. To inquire about projects that can use your specialized skills, volunteers are asked to contact Samaritan’s Purse at 1-844-547-2663 or samaritanspurse.ca/ottawavolunteer (service in English only).
Volunteers are asked to bring the following:
Please do not bring your own equipment or tools to a Samaritan’s Purse project.
The city of Ottawa says the cleanup of downed trees, brush and debris is "one of our most significant focus" for crews this weekend.
Over 700 public works employees have been deployed to focus on the cleanup.
Public Works General Manager Alain Gonthier admits there is "a lot of work" to be done.
"It's going to take us a number of weeks to be able to get through it all," Gonthier said. "But we're going to be continuing the work until we have it all cleared out."
Gonthier says the city has been categorized into three levels based on the amount of debris.
Level One areas are areas where the debris cleanup can be addressed through weekly pickup, while Level Two will be areas that require "additional capacity" to cleanup waste. Gonthier says Level Three requires specialized equipment for some neighbourhoods, including the Pineglen neighbourhood.
"Where we've had to bring in large, specialized equipment to be able to move more material within the community," Gonthier said, adding it will take weeks to cleanup the storm.
Today will be the last day large bins will be set up at 15 locations for organic waste, and the city is wrapping up the "Green Bin Blitz" to collect rotten and spoiled food at homes.
Gonthier says 43 tonnes of organic waste has been collected from homes this week.
The locations for the giant bins to collect organic-waste are: