On March 1, 2023, Hydro One undertook a planned power outage that was supposed to take place from 10 am to 3 pm. The crew working on the maintenance of the lines encountered problems that were not anticipated which resulted in the power remaining off until approximately 2:40 am on March 2nd.
On March 2nd in Toronto, I met with senior representatives of Hydro One, along with MCFN Councillors Kathy Faries-Quachegan and Justice Seidel. We strongly conveyed to Hydro One that this was a potentially dangerous situation with temperatures of -24 in Moose Factory. I requested an incident report explaining what happened and obtained a commitment from Hydro One that they will work closely with MCFN on all planned future power outages. MCFN and Hydro One must establish a protocol which sets out the steps to be taken in a timely and organized manner should future power outages take longer than anticipated, especially in cold or hot weather.
Council and I will continue discussions with Hydro One to put plans in place to ensure that this situation does not occur again. We understand that maintenance of the power lines and structures must occur but that back up plans must be in place when problems are encountered that cause unanticipated extended power outages. Council will also be working with our own administration to review existing processes and to address any gaps to ensure the health and safety of our members should a similar situation take place in the future.
The following is a statement received from Hydro One
The extended duration of the planned outage on March 1 is unacceptable to us and we were deeply sorry to hear that community members experienced challenging and distressing situations.
The outage was part of our investment to improve reliability by replacing the aging electrical lines and supporting structures between Bushy Island and Sawpit Island. This critical work required an outage while ice roads are available. During the outage, our crews encountered a number of significant issues that ultimately led to an extended outage for the community.
We are conducting an internal investigation and we will continue to work with community leaders on this and any future work that needs to take place. We are committed to doing the right thing for our customers and the community.