Canada Repair Crews Restore Power With 400,000 Still Dark

Photographer: Keith Beaty/Toronto Star via Getty Images

A fallen tree limb hangs onto power lines as traffic lights are out at Mount Pleasant Road and Inglewood Drive in Toronto. Close

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Photographer: Keith Beaty/Toronto Star via Getty Images

A fallen tree limb hangs onto power lines as traffic lights are out at Mount Pleasant Road and Inglewood Drive in Toronto.

Repair crews are working to restore power to at least 250,000 homes and businesses still in the dark in eastern Canada after an ice storm toppled trees and brought down power lines in Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick.

About 115,000 customers are still without power today in Toronto, Canada’s biggest city, Mayor Rob Ford said today. That’s down from about 300,000 outages at the peak, according to Toronto Hydro. More than 31,000 customers of Hydro Quebec remain without power, according to the utility’s website.

A weekend storm that dumped freezing rain and snow disrupted power supplies and disabled transport networks. Some customers in Toronto probably won’t have power restored before Christmas Day, Ford said.

“We’d like to say this will be done tomorrow,” Ford told reporters at city hall. “That’s not going to happen.”

More than 70 flights were canceled yesterday at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport or about 5 percent of all scheduled flights, according to data posted on the airport’s website. That’s down from 414, or about 28 percent of all flights Dec. 22. Pearson, which is located about 30 kilometers (18 miles) from the city’s downtown, is Canada’s busiest airfield.

Power was restored to Toronto’s East General, Humber River Regional and Sunnybrook hospitals, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne told reporters yesterday. Water systems are up to full services, Ford said.

‘Worst Storm’

Two people in Ontario died after carbon monoxide from a gas generator entered their home after a power outage, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. reported this morning.

You “literally saw trees raining from the sky,” Toronto Hydro Chief Executive Officer Anthony Haines told reporters today at city hall. The utility continues to experience new outages as ice-laden trees cause damage to power lines.

Ford said yesterday there was no need to declare a state of emergency.

“Right now things are improving, things are improving quickly,” he said. “We can’t work any faster.”

Hydro One, a utility serving customers outside Toronto, said on its website today that about 58,522 homes and businesses had no power.

Customers that didn’t have power restored by yesterday “may have to be prepared for an extended outage into Christmas,” Powerstream, a utility in the York region north of the city’s downtown core, said yesterday. The utility has about 8,800 customers still without power, it said on its website.

Cost Estimate

Enersource, which is based in the city of Mississauga, had about 305 clients affected by the outages according to its website, while Horizon Utilities, in Hamilton, said it had about 400. Veridian Connections said about 13,000 customers were without power as of 10:30 p.m. yesterday in the heavily treed areas around Port Hope, 109 kilometers east of Toronto.

Further east, about 45,649 customers in the province of New Brunswick were without power, New Brunswick Power said.

“While we’re making progress, restoration for all customers could take a few more days,” Toronto Hydro said in a message posted on Twitter today. Customers should “make alternate arrangements,” it said.

The utility would expect restoration costs of about C$1 million ($942,329) a day based on previous smaller disruptions like summer wind storms, Haines estimated yesterday.

“I haven’t turned my mind to it at this point,” he said. “We’re not worrying about the dollars right now.”

Exchanges Normal

The Toronto Stock Exchange operated as normal and will close at 1 p.m. today. Toronto’s downtown financial district, which includes the country’s biggest banks’ head offices, was largely unaffected by the power outages. Canadian debt markets are unaffected and will close today as planned at 1 p.m., according to Barbara Amsden, spokeswoman for the Investment Industry Association of Canada.

Air Canada, the country’s biggest airline, added flights and substituted larger aircraft for smaller planes whenever possible, Angela Mah, a Vancouver-based spokeswoman for the company said yesterday. Some aircraft and crews remain out of position as a result of the storms, she said.

WestJet Airlines Ltd. (WJA)’s scheduled 13 additional flights yesterday to cope with increased demand for travel, Robert Palmer, a spokesman for the Calgary-based carrier, said via e-mail. Operations are “slowly returning to normal,” he said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Liezel Hill in Toronto at lhill30@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Simon Casey at scasey4@bloomberg.net

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