Some parts of Ontario could be waiting weeks for power to fully be restored after a massive snowstorm, the province’s largest electricity supplier said Thursday.
Thousands of customers were without power as of Thursday afternoon, according to Hydro One‘s outage map, with some expected to be up and running by Friday.
But the utility said outages in Huntsville, Ont., where hundreds of residents were still in the dark Thursday evening, might not be fully resolved until Jan. 15.
Tiziana Baccega-Rosa, a spokesperson for Hydro One, said the restoration work in that area has been slowed down by another wave of snow, which increased the number of outages.
“There is a mix of circumstances where people may have been without power since the beginning of the storm and then there are those who may be affected by a more recent outage due to the continuous weather(condition),” she said.
She said technicians may be able to fully restore power in some parts of the province sooner than expected if weather conditions allow.
Nearly a thousand customers may not have power until Jan. 4 in townships of Parry Sound and Penetanguishene, according to Hydro One’s outage map.
“It is understandable that customers are going to be frustrated they have been without power, and it is cold,” she said. “We are doing everything we can to restore power as quickly and as safely as possible.”
Hundreds of thousands of people were left without power in parts of Ontario and Quebec when the storm hit last week.
Mayor Nancy Alcock, the township’s mayor, said Huntsville and other areas in Muskoka district experienced one of the worst storms in decades, with around 150 centimetres of snowfall, combined with strong winds, both of which caused delays in restoring the power in the area.
“Our crews have been working side-by-side with hydro wherever they can, but literally when it was in the midst of the storm, trying to actually access the places where they needed to get to was a bit problematic,” she said.
She said Muskoka is a densely forested area, and heavy snow and high winds brought down many trees which have caused more outages and prevented equipment from being able to clear off the roads to allow Hydro One employees to access the affected areas.
“You’ve got these massive tree canopies covered with snow, so they are really heavy, and then high winds…It is a real recipe for causing serious hydro problems,” she said, noting that she herself experienced short-term power outages during the storm, once for around three hours.
Alcock said the Hydro One has so far done “phenomenal” job to restore the power, but it would be “unfortunate” if power can’t be fully restored before Jan. 15.