EDITOR’S NOTE: On Saturday, some residents in the Munster/Ashton area of Rideau Goulbourn were left without power for hours. We asked Hydro Ottawa about why power went out and why here have been so many outages in the area. Here’s the response from Morgan Barnes, a communications officer with Hydro Ottawa.
While our crews were prepping for a planned outage (scheduled for the evening of Saturday, March 21), our system was in an abnormal state, with customers transferred to a supply from Hydro One. That supply failed when Hydro One experienced a pole fire in nearby Carleton Place – resulting in a loss of supply (and our customers losing power). In an effort to restore our customers, we attempted to transfer customers back to our system, but that failed – causing one of our circuits to lose power. As a result, the planned work scheduled for March 21 could not go forward as we now had an unexpected outage to deal with.
We are currently evaluating if we will be rescheduling to the already communicated rain date of March 27. We understand that residents have had to deal with reliability issues of late and we want to be sensitive to their frustration and the need to do the work in order to prevent happenings such as this from occurring in the future. This past weekend was the perfect storm of a system made vulnerable due to an already planned outage and an unexpected loss of supply from Hydro One as a result of a pole fire. Restoration efforts were diminished, in part, due to the extreme high and low temperatures on Saturday that turned rain to ice.
We are actively working to bring the reliability in the area to the high standards other customers enjoy. Our crews are continuing their work in the region, including scanning for equipment that needs to be changed.
I understand estimated repair times but the lack of communication about what is happening and what’s being done to improve things from Hydro is sorely lacking. We hear from each other on Facebook more than we get from any direct Hydro source. Part of customer service is providing service number one, the second part is communicating when you fail in number one.
Looking at posts from yesterday and today there was a woman who had to cancel scheduled appointments with clients because she couldn’t meet them at her home. Homes and the children in them are cold. I can’t imagine what older folks in town are going through and just hope they got out of town or had people looking in on them.
I have a son with special needs who has been a nervous wreck since last weekend’s outage, watching the trees constantly to see if it’s windy and then worrying about the power going out. After yesterday he’s a mess. He spent the day pacing the house and couldn’t sleep. It will take him weeks to feel safe in his own home again, and that’s only if nothing happens during those weeks.
As someone who does laundry weekends to take advantage of lower rate times on power, now I’ll be working at that into Monday, paying more because of the weekend’s outages. Who pays for that? Me. I also work from home so Friday had to make plans around the scheduled power outage and now tomorrow will have to do the same. Who loses work time? Me.
What I’ll also be doing Monday is investigating generators, which I can’t afford but that I can’t afford not to look at if only to give my son peace of mind and to provide him the security and safety Hydro can’t.
Hydro Ottawa is experiencing a power outage in the Munster Village, Aston Village and surrounding s. area. The cause of the outage is: Currently under investigation. Hydro Ottawa crews are: Performing emergency switching to restore service to all possible affected customers. The estimated time of restoration is: 2015-03-21 10:00 pm. 441 customers are affected.
Power is out on a frigid Saturday night for over 1,200 customers southwest of Stittsville including Munster, Ashton and surrounding areas. Hydro Ottawa tells StittsvilleCentral.ca that the outage is due to Hydro One’s supply outage at the Beckwith Station. A pole fire in that area has left nearly 6,000 people in Carleton Place without power as well.
Some residents in Rideau-Goulbourn have been without power since around 10:00am this morning. Continue reading →
UPDATE: Here’s a statement from Rebecca Hickey in Hydro Ottawa’s media an public affairs department:
The outage on Saturday March 14th affecting Stittsville, Kanata, Richmond and Munster was caused by a Hydro One pole that caught fire. The pole, located along Highway 417 near Huntmar, is the main source of electricity from Hydro One’s provincial high-voltage transmission grid to the local grid managed by Hydro Ottawa.
Pole fires can take place, particularly in late winter, when salt spray from passing cars builds up on the electrical infrastructure. This build up, paired with moisture in the air, can allow the electricity to travel through the insulator and energize the wooden pole, causing it to catch fire.
We got an email this afternoon from Margarita at Kungfu Bistro. They are trying to cook 30 litres of soup for Great Bowls of Fire, a charity event tonight to raise money for the Ottawa Food Bank. But with the power out they have to do it by flashlight!
“With the power outage hitting us this afternoon, we desperately in the dark (with flashlights) made our Thai coconut curry soup for the Ottawa Food Bank. Weeks ago we agreed to donate 30 litres of our gluten free thai soup to support the Great Bowls of Fire which would go towards fundraising for the Ottawa food bank. The outage was a surprise challenge but we are determined to see this through. It’s the only food we will prepare tonight (if the outage continues) as it would be too dangerous go attempt anything else.”
UPDATE: About 400 people attended the charity event on Saturday and at least $15,000 was raised through ticket sales.
Power’s out for about 12,000 customers in Stittsville, Munster, Richmond and Kanata on Saturday afternoon due to a broken hydro pole. Hydro Ottawa crews are responding. As of 3:15pm, the estimated restoration time was 7:00pm.
The power outage includes a number of stores and businesses in the area on a busy Saturday afternoon, including the Hazeldean Mall and Tanger Outlets.
It’s not clear what caused the hydro pole to break. From the photo it looks like the pole snapped in two. Sgt. Iain Pidcock of the Ottawa Police says the pole that broke is in a field, and not near vehicle traffic.
The Ottawa Sun has a story today about the Garby family who live on Lloyadex Crescent in Stittsville. The Hydro One bill for their bungalow was $333. Meanwhile, residents who are on Hydro Ottawa’s distribution system pay a substantially lower price for electricity.
“The delivery charge alone for Garby’s last bill was $140. The delivery charge for a nearby home in a Hydro Ottawa neighbourhood was about $36. Nearly 50,000 city property taxpayers are getting service from Hydro One and not from their own municipally-owned utility because of where the boundaries are drawn. Hydro Ottawa wants to acquire those city-based Hydro One customers but the two sides can’t agree on a price,” writes Jon Willing in the Sun.
On September 12, 2014, Hydro Ottawa will be upgrading transformers in your neighbourhood to improve the reliability of the electrical system.
In order to undertake this work safely, a planned power interruption will be required. The planned interruption is scheduled to take place Friday, September 12, 2014 from 11:45pm to Saturday, September 13, 6:00 am.
On Thursday, September 4th, and Friday, September 5th, Hydro Ottawa will be installing new conductors on existing overhead lines in your neighbourhood to improve the reliability of the electrical system.
In order to undertake this work safely, two planned power interruptions will be required. The first interruption will take place on September 4th, between 8:30am and 3:30 pm. The second interruption will take place September 5th, between the same hours.
In case of inclement weather, the tentative date to reschedule this work will be September 5 and September 8, between the same hours.
Affected streets: Fringewood Drive, Cloverloft Circle, Cripple Creek, Lazy Nol Crescent and Orchard Drive