At approximately 11:00 AM, on December 23rd, Lakefront Utilities Inc. (Lakefront) customers in Cobourg and Colborne experienced an outage caused by a severe winter storm impacting multiple areas of Ontario.
Lakefront’s dedicated electric crew of four Red Seal Powerline workers and management, worked tirelessly through multiple 16-hour shifts in challenging weather conditions to safely restore power to all customers that were impacted.
LUI has a diligent annual maintenance program that includes tree trimming and pole testing. Throughout the entire storm, there were only five broken hydro poles and two damaged transformers. “The reliability of Lakefront’s infrastructure, which sustained minimal damage throughout the storm, speaks to the diligence of Lakefront staff and their commitment to providing reliable service to our community”, commented Dereck Paul, President and CEO of Lakefront Utilities Inc.
Despite Lakefront’s durable infrastructure and the preparedness of the crews, the severe weather resulted in downed wires from fallen trees as a result of unrelenting high winds, that caused multiple outages. High winds uprooted trees and scattered debris, creating an environment where LUI’s electric crew could not respond quickly enough due to the danger and was frequently having to pivot, including making repairs to infrastructure, and working with the fire department to respond to fire calls. The storm impacted infrastructure and created challenging working conditions for the crews, resulting in a longer than normal restoration period. Lakefront called in contractors to assist with repairs and shortened restoration time. Crews worked alongside Ontario Line Clearing, Westmore, and Spark Power to restore power as quickly and safely as possible.
An example of the continuous damages caused by the storm that delayed restoration is the F2 Feeder that services areas near D’Arcy Street, University Avenue, Walton Street, James Street, John Street, Spencer Street, and Munroe Street. Crews restored the F2 Feeder around 9:30PM on December 23rd , restoring power to approximately 2,500 customers. However, as the storm continued, the high winds caused a large tree to uproot and fall at approximately 2:30AM on December 24th, near D’Arcy Street and Queen Street, impacting the F2 Feeder again. Crews started work once again to restore the F2 Feeder, removing the tree, patrolling the feeder, and ultimately restoring the F2 Feeder. Although the F2 Feeder was restored, there was an issue with the reclosure. Crews quickly began work to dump the F2 Feeder, remove the leads from the line, close the bypass switches, and pick up the feeder, finally successfully restoring power. Lakefront’s small crew, devoted to our communities, were managing issues and damages similar to this, throughout the duration of the storm and after.
“Our team at Lakefront understands how inconvenient power outages are, especially in winter, in a storm, hours before Christmas, and we thank our customers for their understanding. We continue to invest in local infrastructure to improve upon the reliability of our system. Unfortunately, outages are a reality when faced with unforeseen natural events, such as the severe winter storm experienced this December. Throughout the storm, our dedicated crews persevered day and night to restore power as quickly and safely as possible. Although the damages and weather created hazards for our crews, they worked tirelessly to serve our community. Thank you to our crews and their families for their commitment, determination, and sacrifice throughout the holidays, I am extremely proud of them. Further, we would like to take a moment to thank our customers for the support and appreciation our crews have received for their efforts, we are truly proud to serve our communities”, commented Dereck Paul, President and CEO of Lakefront Utilities Inc.