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Ottawa storm: Hydropower damage ‘much worse’ than ice storm and tornadoes

Hydro Ottawa says the damage from Saturday’s storm is “simply incomprehensible” and “significantly worse” than the 1998 ice storm and the tornadoes that hit the capital three years ago.

More than 150,000 Ottawa homes and businesses are still without power two days after a severe storm hit the capital, with wind gusts of up to 120 km/h.

In a letter to Mayor Jim Watson and council Saturday night, Hydro Ottawa said damage was localized across the city.

“We are handling this from a citywide perspective given that no area of ​​the city has been untouched in one way or another,” the letter reads.

“And to put you and your residents in context, this event is far worse than the ice storm of 1998 and the tornadoes of 2018. The level of damage to our distribution system is simply beyond comprehension.”

More than 200 utility poles were down in Ottawa, including dozens along Merivale Road.

Hydro Ottawa says crews will be working around the clock until power is restored.

“The widespread nature of this outage persists with no single solution,” the utility said.

“Our teams are working as quickly as possible with backup teams from our contractors and utility partners from as far away as the Greater Toronto Area, Kingston and New Brunswick. Crews will be working around the clock until all power is restored to our city. “

Power has been restored to the Queensway Carleton Hospital, the Robert O. Pickard Environmental Center water treatment plant and the Ottawa International Airport.

Shortly after the storm hit, more than 180,000 customers were without power, about half of Hydro Ottawa’s customer base.

Hydro Ottawa’s director of system operations and system automation, Joseph Muglia, told CFRA’s The Morning Rush with Bill Carroll that the storm hit different parts of Ottawa with different intensities, creating challenges for the teams.

“Just the way we were hit by this one, hugely damaging for sure and so prevalent all over the city which makes it so much more complicated.”

Over 150,000 Hydro Ottawa customers lost power when a series of tornadoes hit Ottawa in September 2018.

During the 1998 ice storm, more than 600,000 people lost power in Eastern Ontario.

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