Residents go days without power

By Jenn Watt

A storm that swept across Ontario on Friday downed hydro lines with 100-kilometre-an-hour winds knocking out power to thousands for days.

Across Haliburton County there were more than 60 incidents investigated by Hydro One and more than 9000 without power on Nov. 6.

Crews worked throughout the weekend to restore power but as of Monday there were still more than 500 in the region without power.

Tiziana Baccega Rosa spokesperson for Hydro One said that aside from the 1200 people across Ontario who worked on restoring power several helicopters were sent out to patrol help move equipment and put in new poles.

It’s not always obvious to workers where the problem is Baccega Rosa said.

“It’s a physical patrol that needs to happen especially when you’re talking about off-road sections it could go on for a very long time. Pinpointing where the actual incident is is the real first part” she said.
Damage assessors head out into the field looking for trees on lines or poles blown over and the crews then get to work on repairing the damage.

Pat and Jeff Barry were without power for 54 hours during the weekend.

The couple lives on Barry Line and have a generator and wood stove so the outage didn’t affect them as it would some others. Pat said she saw trees down and hydro employees working hard to get power back on.

“I know they sure worked long and hard on it” she said. “They’ve been very thorough and very helpful.”
One family on the Barrys’ road who don’t have a generator made a campfire to keep warm Pat said.

The family was invited into a neighbour’s home for food and to get warm.

Generators were buzzing around the neighbourhood.

“It was something in the evening when it was dark to be outside [and]  hear all of the homes with the generators going” Pat says.

At the Haliburton hospital it took a while for the generator to kick in – with the facility powerless for about an hour on Friday.

The facility has a diesel generator CEO Varouj Eskedjian said which is tested weekly. However on Friday it didn’t automatically start as it should have causing the administration to call in an electrician.
Eskedjian said the staff was able to manage the situation.

“Because it occurred during the day and we had plenty of staff in we were able to … provide care to them [patients and residents]” he said.

The kitchen equipment runs on propane and there were paper plates. None of the patients that day needed medical equipment that runs on electricity.

Eskedjian said the situation was a learning experience and has helped HHHS determine what needs to change for next time.

“We’re going to take learnings from it and determine why the diesel generator didn’t kick in and certainly train our maintenance staff in the event that that happens again” he said.

About 90000 customers were without power across Ontario. As of Monday some in the region were still without power. Most of those were dwellings on islands or in remote areas.