Update from Hydro Ottawa: Steps taken to prepare for winter storm impact

We are currently tracking and planning our response to a severe winter storm expected to make its way to Ottawa this evening and potentially extending to Christmas Day.

At 6:00 p.m. this evening, we will be activating our Incident Command Centre along with our Crisis Management Teams to manage and deploy resources as required. Both elements will remain in place until the storm has passed and our power supply is stable.

Projections continue to change, but sustained winds with gusts in the 60-80 km/h range are expected. The major uncertainty at this time is around the nature of the precipitation we will receive in Ottawa. A significant temperature change during the afternoon of December 23, will determine whether we experience a prolonged period of freezing rain or wet snow. The exact combination of wind and ice or snow loading will be the determining factor defining the impact to our infrastructure.

Given the uncertainty around this weather event, we have also reached out and proactively secured some additional contracted resources to be on standby for restoration efforts as required over the coming days.

While our crews and contractors will work around the clock to restore power, I would simply ask that you encourage your constituents to be patient and understand that power restoration is a complex undertaking at the best of times. Doing so under inclement weather conditions is even more complicated and time consuming.

I’d also like to reiterate that in addition to our operating system, Hydro Ottawa relies on customers to help pinpoint the cause of an outage, by:

  • Calling our 24/7 outage hotline at 613-738-0188;
  • Submitting it online through their MyAccount customer portal; or
  • Through the Hydro Ottawa mobile app.

To find out the current status of an outage, residents are advised to visit our website and Outage Map at www.hydroottawa.com/outages, which is updated every 15 minutes as new information comes in from our crews.

We will continue to keep our customers and the public informed of the situation through local media, our social channels and in addition to our website via a new Storm Centre dedicated home page that will be live when our Crisis Communications Plan is activated. We encourage you to follow us for updates there too.

We cannot stress enough the importance of allowing our crews the space they need to conduct their work safely by respecting work site perimeters so they can repair and restore power as quickly and safely as possible.