A storm wreaked havoc here last night causing thousands of district and town residents to lose their power.
“Mother Nature did a number on us,” said Joerg Ruppenstein, president and CEO of the Fort Frances Power Corp. (FFPC).
High winds brought several trees crashing down, resulting in damaged hydro lines, causing the blackout.
At the height of the storm, approximately 1,420 town residents were effected.
Crews have been working to address damages caused by the storm since 1:30 a.m. this morning.
The outage occurred at 1:55 a.m. when the Fort Frances Power Corporation lost power to its Victoria and Crowe Avenue power feeders.
Power was restored to the Crowe Avenue feeder at 2:42 a.m. but crews had to manually shut it off due to a tree fire shortly after.
“We had to shut the feeder off to isolate the electricity so that the crews could work safely,” Ruppenstein explained.
Six minutes later, after the tree was successfully removed, power was restored to the Crowe Avenue feeder at roughly 3 a.m.
Other incidents caused by the storm include a blown fuse knocking out power at the 200 block of Scott Street this morning.
At approximately 8:34 a.m. power was lost and it was later restored at 9:15 a.m.
Street lights were impacted by last night’s storm; a large quantity lost power due to a break in the pilot wire from the storm.
Restoration to the town’s streetlights is ongoing,
Currently there are still two FFPC ratepayers without power due to trees coming down on service wires.
“Our crew is going around with a back log of all the reported incidents and they’re patrolling to see where these customers are at,” Ruppenstein said.
The FFPC has also addressing the large number of trees down throughout the community to get traffic flow back to normal.
The crews are also ensuring any other hazardous areas are restored.
Cleanup will continue until tomorrow when things get back to normal, Ruppenstein noted.
He would like to thank customers for their patience while events like this occur.
It takes time to bring everyone’s power back on and they can rest assured that our crews have been working non-stop since 1:30 this morning to restore power and restore our community back to normal.” Ruppenstein lauded.
For the rest of the district, power initially went out at 1:41 a.m. this morning and was restored for most before 6 a.m.
A little over 2,220 people were affected by the blackout.
While power outages occur, Hydro One spokesperson Baccega Rose cautioned people to stay away from any downed lines they may come across and call 911 immediately to report them.
She also recommends putting together an emergency preparedness kit for future blackouts.
“If you don’t have one it is a great time to put one together, fall is coming and with that comes wind storms,” Baccega Rose cautioned.
“Then we get into winter season and depending on the type of winter that we have we need to prepare for the worst.
“We know that this wasn’t an extended outage but we always say that’s what customers should be prepared for,” she added.
Baccega Rose said the kit should include, “anything that you would need for 72 hours, from water, to medicine, to food and not only for yourself but obviously any children or pets too.”
She also suggests keeping the kit replenished after each power outage.
A great tool Hydro One recommends people use is their “Outage Alerts” where people can receive up to date information via text or email relating to power outages in their area.
“Anytime we suspect there is an outage effecting your property, we will notify you and give you the latest information about restoration times and what we know about the outage,” said Baccega Rose.
Those interested in receiving outage notifications can visit: www.hydroone.com/request-a-service/outage-alerts to sign up or call 1-888-664-9376.
“It will save you time and be so helpful when you do find yourself in an outage,” Baccega Rose noted.
“There’s no calling in or waiting on hold, the information get’s sent directly to you,” she added. “It’s very convenient for busy people.”