County staff to probe causes of power outages

April 18, 2019   ·   0 Comments

By James Matthews

On the heels of recent outages, Dufferin County council is questioning Hydro One’s forestry practices along its network of power lines.

Councillor John Creelman, Mono’s deputy mayor, put forward a motion to have county staff investigate any possible changes in the utility company’s practices that could account for a pair of recent widespread power outages.

And enough other county councillors at Council’s April 11 meeting thought it was a good idea to approach the company on the topic.

Dufferin County and neighbouring municipalities experienced two significant power outages within a two-week period that impacted thousands of Hydro One customers.

The outages’ causes have been attributed by Hydro One to have been due to severe weather and galloping power lines due to high winds. Coun. Creelman’s motion also touched on the possibility there may also be issues with trees and branches in proximity to power lines.

County staff will contact Hydro One to determine the extent to which power outages affecting Dufferin residents and businesses are being caused by trees and branches and whether better forestry practices would reduce the number of local power outages. 

Coun. Creelman said the impetus for his motion was his suspicion that forestry practices by Hydro One have been allowed to slide over the last number of years. There’s been word, he said, that the provincial utility has changed its approach to forestry work surrounding its power lines.

“They maintain they’re doing it in a much more systematic and smarter way,” Coun. Creelman said. “And yet we still have these outages. I believe they admitted that about 48 percent of the outages were attributable to what was described as contact with trees.

“I think it’s worthy of a discussion to try to see whether Hydro One would explain its current practices and whether it’s keeping up with what is becoming a pretty consistent problem in Dufferin over the course of any given winter.”

Mr. Creelman said he’s received public support on the issue, and he believes a discussion between county staff and the utility company would be more meaningful than individuals simply phone a customer support telephone line.

“(Constituents) agree Hydro One is doing, for the most part, a very good job,” said Coun. Creelman. “They are still somewhat reticent about dealing with particular problem areas near their homes.”

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