How We Respond to Outages
In the event of a power outage, Burlington Hydro prioritizes its response, ensuring that hospitals, emergency services and critical infrastructure have their power restored first.
Secondly, attention focuses on repairing damage to main feeders and substations which service large numbers of customers and to major roadways. In parallel, damage is assessed and prioritized case by case, ensuring foremost that customers are safe.
Be assured that all Burlington Hydro crews act quickly, and put their best efforts forward to restore electricity to customers as safely and as promptly as possible.
Causes of power outage?
The majority of power outages are due to severe weather, including high winds, lightning, freezing rain or snow and flooding. Hydro poles are vulnerable to lightning and strong winds can break tree limbs or knock over trees bringing down power lines. Freezing rain or snow can build up substantial weight on equipment causing damage.
Other Power Outage Causes
Although Burlington Hydro regularly maintains equipment, problems can occasionally occur and trigger an outage.
During various types of construction jobs, buried lines/cables can accidentally be damaged while excavating, resulting in an outage.
Cars and trucks occasionally impact and damage our equipment which can cause outages.
Birds, squirrels, raccoons and others can be responsible for outages, if they come into contact with equipment or chew into a power line.
Areas with many and large trees are more likely to experience power outages during storms. When a tree comes into contact with a power line, circuit breakers or other protective equipment cut off the power until the tree is removed and the equipment repaired.
Planned Power Outages
From time to time power outages are needed to allow our crews to conduct maintenance or repair work. It is our policy to notify customers, if possible, prior to these planned outages. We make all efforts to schedule these outages at the least inconvenient times for and work hard to ensure times are not prolonged. As well, Burlington Hydro is often contacted by contractors such as tree trimming service companies who request that power be shut off in and around where work is taking place for safety reasons. In such cases, at least 48 hours notification is given to customers of a planned outage.
Estimated Time of Restoration
There are occasions when we are unable to provide an estimated time of restoration (ETR). We know it’s frustrating not knowing how long the power is going to be out, however there are a number of situations where we might be unable to provide an immediate ETR.
- It can take time to locate the cause of an outage. We can normally narrow down the location of a fault on major feeders and primary lines with the assistance of automated equipment. However, this becomes more challenging in the case of underground cable faults and damage to secondary lines. Such cases require our crews to patrol the area to identify the cause of the outage. This can take time, particularly if a storm has caused widespread damage to our distribution system.
- On occasion the cause of the outage is outside of our territory and outside of our control. For instance, equipment repairs might need to be made by Hydro One (who supplies power to our territory) before power can be restored; or,
- We could be dealing with a public safety situation, where coordination of emergency services is required before repairs can begin.
Once the cause of an outage is identified, Burlington Hydro can send crews to make repairs and restore power. Estimated restoration times are then posted on our website outage map. Simply click on the helmet where an outage has occurred. ETRs can be extended should the extent of the damage/conditions be more complex than first estimated.
We are committed to work as quickly and as safely as possible to restore power to our customers under all circumstances.