How Hydro Ottawa powers through summer storm season

Lights, camera, action!

Narrator: “It was a dark and stormy night, and the power was…on.”

*Cut*

Narrator: “What? That can’t be right…where’s the drama? Where’s the suspense? The power is supposed to go out.”

Not on our watch. While not exactly movie-worthy, our Hydro Ottawa crews are always aiming to keep the power on, day or night, rain or shine. In fact, outage duration in 2019 was at the lowest level compared to the past seven years. On average, Hydro Ottawa customers had power 99.985 per cent of the time. This number, however, is something the team always seeks to raise the bar on every year. If it’s not 100 per cent, we can do better.

As we aim to improve, a risk-factor that we are always considering and preparing for in summer is thunderstorms. Our crews follow a three-pronged approach (pun-intended fun fact: three-prong plugs guard against powerful surges or malfunctions that can cause damage or harm to your electronics). First, our crews continually monitor the grid and perform maintenance where needed to prevent future large outages and safety incidents. This includes ongoing repairs, upgrades, and even tree-trimming where overgrowth may pose a potential hazard during heavy winds and rainfall (and freezing rain or snow in winter). Second, they are always on the look-out for potential emergencies. For example, if severe weather is in the forecast, additional staff may be kept on stand-by and other resources may be relocated so that emergency response times can be as short as possible. Finally, all communication lines are constantly being streamlined to ensure outages can be detected, addressed, and communicated to customers and the community as quickly and efficiently as possible.

On the off chance that the power does go out, we want to make sure there’s a “to be continued” to the stories of each of our customers. So, with that, comes our summer storm watch advice:

  1. Be proactive. If there’s one thing we’ve all learned this year amidst the COVID-19, it’s that it never hurts to plan ahead for emergencies. When it comes to power outages, we recommend keeping flashlights, blankets, and a pre-charged battery-pack for your phone. For those looking for a more comprehensive emergency packing list, you can find one here.
     
  2. Map it out. We have an interactive outage map available on our website or the Hydro Ottawa app that updates every 15 minutes to provide you with information on outages occurring throughout our service territory. You can reference this map at any time at hydroottawa.com/outage.
     
  3. Check out our Twitter page. Whenever there’s an outage or impending storm, we do our best to keep you up to date with outage locations, size, and estimated restoration times when available.
     
  4. Dial in. Call our 24/7 outage line at 613-738-0188. Our team is always happy to help give you the latest information.
     
  5. Report it. Concerned that we might not be aware of an outage? It is always helpful to our teams to contact us. To report a power outage, call our 24/7 outage line at 613-738-0188, via the Hydro Ottawa app or submit your report online through MyAccount (login required).

When these outages occur, we seek to keep you informed as quickly and as thoroughly as possible. That is why we’d love your feedback. We have a short survey below for you to help us serve you with outage information in the best way possible.

 

Narrator: While this storyline isn’t much of a thriller, the characters (customers) do seem to be living happily ever after. And, who doesn’t love a happy ending?

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