The twister devastated the provincial utility’s transformer station in Merivale in west-end Ottawa, one of the major electricity supply points to the city.
“It will take multiple days to restore that station. When that station comes back online, power will flow,” Hydro Ottawa president and CEO Bryce Conrad said on Saturday.
“In the meantime, we are working to redirect power, to restore power where we can but that transformer station is the problem for us at the moment. Again, this is a multi-day outage.”
Ottawa typically receives about 1,000 megawatts of power this time of year, Conrad said, but lost 400 megawatts as the result of the tornado’s disruptions to the transmission supply.
WATCH: Full coverage of Ottawa-region tornado
So severe was the damage to the Hydro One station in Merivale that provincial hydro authorities hadn’t been able to assess the damage as of Saturday morning due to debris, Conrad said, adding that the damage to hydro infrastructure “was arguably as bad as — if not worse than — the ice storm of 1998.”
As many as 147,000 people were without power Saturday morning after the twister tore through the area, leaving a mass of mangled power lines and felled hydro towers in its wake. That figure dropped Saturday afternoon to 97,500 without power in Ottawa.
Conrad said people who currently have power are not expected to lose it in the coming days.
WATCH: Massive cleanup operation in Ottawa after two tornadoes
Hydro-Quebec said 114,000 were affected by outages in that province.