Power’s out? Here’s how we help

When power goes out, we know you want it restored quickly. As Hydro Ottawa gathers information and deploys crews, you also have an important role to play in helping power return to your home or business.

Understanding the steps of how Hydro Ottawa restores power within the community may ease your worries the next time you’re disconnected, knowing that a process is unfolding to get you right back on the grid. 

The importance of customers reporting

When power goes out, there are two ways Hydro Ottawa is made aware of power outages. First, we rely on our monitoring technology to ensure that there is constant communication with our electricity distribution networks and substations across the city. Through this technology, our Control Room Operators will instantly be alerted when the power goes out or when other problems occur with the electricity system.

Our monitoring technology oversees and protects larger sections of the power grid. We rely on our customers to report and help us pinpoint smaller outages and their causes, such as those affecting several homes and businesses. When a power outage occurs, residents should report it by calling our 24/7 Power Outage line at 613-738-0188, or by using their MyAccount portal, providing as much detailed information as possible. If you have reported the outage to our Power Outage Line, be assured it’s in our Outage Management System and our crews will get there as quickly as they can. 

How our crews get to work

Once we know where an outage has occurred, our nearest crews are sent out. If the exact cause is not known, they’ll investigate by patrolling the area to look for damaged equipment, downed wires or tree contact. This can take time, especially if the weather is bad or if it’s at night. In some instances, crews may have to go from yard to yard in the dark. Once we’ve found the problem and assessed the damage, we estimate how long it will take to restore power. And, while we strive for accuracy, this part is difficult; increasingly so depending on the magnitude of the storm. 

Our electrical grid is integrated and complex so restoring power takes time, and depends on our ability to assess the problem and to create restoration plans which prioritize the safety of residents and our crew. Hydro Ottawa then restores power on a priority basis. 

Throughout this process, we also gather information to minimize the chance of the outage happening again – or to help resolve it more quickly next time. We keep records of when and why power outages happen and report on how each outage was resolved. This information helps us recommend upgrades to electricity infrastructure for the future. 

We know it can be frustrating to lose power, but our process is thorough and designed to restore power as quickly as possible to those in the greatest need. Rest assured that if you have reported it, our crews will visit you as soon as they safely can.

This is the second in a series of blogs to mark Emergency Preparedness Week, May 7 to 13. For more see the Emergency Preparedness section of our website.

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