Corp Comm Connects

Power outages, flickering lights affect thousands
March 17, 2015
By Kendra Mangione

The power outages across Toronto Monday night were likely caused by two power lines making contact in the city's northwest end, with the light "flickers" coming as a result of crews attempting to reconnect the circuits.

The flickering power was experienced by approximately eight million Ontarians, and was the result of two 230 kilovolt power lines touching each other. Hydro One said an insulator holding high-voltage lines cracked and broke, with one line falling onto another, disrupting power.

The utility company says it is investigating what role weather and salt contamination may have played in causing the insulator to break. They say crews normally monitor and diminish the effects of salt contamination through power-washing, but this year’s extreme cold hampered their efforts.

As of Tuesday afternoon, there were more than 20 outages reported across Ontario, according to Hydro One's outage map.

Earlier Tuesday, hundreds of homes in Toronto and areas north of the city were without power, and others reported flickering lights in the GTA.

A Toronto Hydro spokesperson says they have replaced 60 poles since March 3 due to the salt residue. Crews normally replace between nine and 10 poles around this time of the year. The spokesperson says in Toronto, two poles - one in the area of Bathurst Street and Finch Avenue West, and another in the area of Yonge Street and Finch Avenue East - are in need of repair.

Overnight, approximately 5,000 Toronto Hydro customers were without power in the St. Clair Avenue and Dufferin Street area, and farther north near Sheppard and Lawrence Avenues. Power was restored after 1 a.m., Toronto Hydro said.

Approximately 200 customers were also without power near Dufferin Street and Finch Avenue West, reported around 9 p.m., but power was restored two hours later.

Outages were also reported near Dixon Road and Eglinton Avenue in the west, and Steeles Avenue and Brimley Road in the east end.

Shortly after 10 a.m., Toronto Hydro posted to Twitter that an outage near Yonge Street and Finch Avenue was caused by a pole fire.

"Extensive damage requiring significant repairs," Toronto Hydro wrote on Twitter. Power will be restored by the end of the day.

On Tuesday afternoon, several minor outages still appeared on the Toronto Hydro outages map.

All outages on the map affected between one and 50 customers across the city.

North of the city, PowerStream Inc. reported that 8,400 customers were affected by an outage in Barrie at about 5 a.m. PowerStream officials said the outage was likely caused by a pole fire on Little Road.

By 7 a.m., only 145 customers were without power, the company said on Twitter. Power was restored by 10 a.m.

A map on the PowerStream website showed that there were still some outages in the area of Highway 400 and Essa Road.

Further south, residents of Vaughan also woke up in the dark Tuesday. PowerStream reported multiple outages in the area, but the company said that power was restored by 7 a.m.

Shortly after 7 a.m., the PowerStream map was still showing several outages, with the majority of customers affected in the areas north and south of Major MacKenzie Drive, at Weston Road and Keele Street.

There were also several outages reported on Rutherford Road near Huntington Road. By 9 a.m., most of the outages had cleared.

The night before, many cities and towns in Ontario reported flickering power. Hydro One attributed the outages on Monday night to a brief drop in voltage shortly before 9:30 p.m.

View video link: