Hydro Ottawa needs to explain why thousands of residents in Bridlewood and Glen Cairn were hit with three power outages last week, said Kanata South Coun. Allan Hubley.
The power failures occurred on Sept. 25, 28 and 29 – two of them lasting for more than half an hour.
Hydro Ottawa has made a significant investment to improve the reliability of its electricity supply with the recent expansion of the Janet King sub-station on Hazeldean Road and plans to build a new transformer in Bridlewood by 2014, said Hubley.
“Clearly Hydro Ottawa has made significant investments this year in our infrastructure,” said Hubley. “So why are my residents having to deal with outages?”
Susan Barrett, spokesperson for Hydro Ottawa, said last week’s outages were the result of equipment failure.
“It is unfortunate that customers in the Bridlewood area of Kanata experienced three outages in the same week,” said Barrett. “However, no utility company can guarantee an uninterrupted supply of power as there remains many circumstances beyond our control.”
The outages occurred on:
* Sept. 25: a one-minute outage at 4 p.m. affecting 5,910 customers in Kanata, south of Hazeldean Road and a second outage at 4:12 p.m. affecting 5, 309 customers in the same area. Another electrical circuit failed at 4:54 p.m., leaving 5,910 customers without power in an area that included the Hazeldean Mall. Customers were without power for more than half an hour.
* Sept. 28: A 51-minute power outage in Bridlewood and Glen Cairn caused by a fault in an underground cable on Eagleson Road, which left 9,000 customers without power.
* Sept. 29: Hydro Ottawa shut down power for three minutes while crews worked to repair a faulty underground cable, affecting 8,000 customers.
“It’s been a rough year city wide,” said Norm Fraser, Hydro Ottawa’s chief operating officer. “We’ve had four major storms this year in terms of lightning and wind – the devil that plagues power systems.”
Bad weather can stress aging equipment, he added.
Kanata south experienced relief from power outages – compared to the rest of the city – from 2009-10, said Fraser.
This year’s numbers will be affected by last week’s string of outages, he said.
“You’re getting more than in previous years,” he said. “You’re still reasonably in line with what the city experienced.”
Hydro Ottawa will continue to invest in improving Kanata’s electricity infrastructure, said Fraser, with the company about to break ground on a $20-million transformer in Bridlewood.
“That’s going to make a big difference in Kanata for redundancy,” he said, giving the community more back-up power in the case of equipment failure.
Over the past decade, the utility has invested heavily in Kanata’s infrastructure, said Fraser, which included the opening of a transformer station in Kanata, located north of the Queensway.
“Kanata’s power supply is as robust as any suburban utility,” he said. “The investments we made (through) part of the last decade are really starting to pay off.”
Hubley said he is looking for assurances from Hydro Ottawa that future development will keep pace with the company’s ability to supply electricity.
“I want the infrastructure in place when they build the homes and before someone moves into those homes,” said Hubley.
The brown outs in Kanata during 2009-10 were caused by the construction of new homes in Stittsville, said Hubley.