TORONTO — Snow falling overnight in Canada’s largest city hampered efforts to restore electricity to homes and businesses left in the dark by a weekend ice storm that knocked out power for thousands during the holiday season.
Temperature dropped to 16 degrees, weighing on frozen tree branches that snapped and fell onto feeder lines, cutting electricity to thousands more as some residents went a fifth day without power.
“We’re not going to stop until every single person has their power restored,” Toronto Mayor Rob Ford said at a press conference Thursday. It’s too early to estimate the cost of the ice storm, he said. “Our priority is to restore power right now.”
Toronto Hydro had restored power to 82 percent of the blacked-out homes and businesses, Anthony Haines, chief executive officer of the utility, said at a press conference Thursday. Four feeders knocked out overnight with “a few thousand customers” each had already been fixed, Haines said. There’s no estimate for when full power will be restored, he said.
Toronto Hydro had 54,000 reported failures remaining, down from 72,000 yesterday and a peak of 300,000 after the Dec. 21 ice storm. Those customers will be the hardest to restore as crews work house by house to repair downed cables and damage to lines caused by branches.
Aside from Toronto Hydro, regional utilities Hydro Quebec and New Brunswick Power had about 45,500 customers without power Thursday, according to their websites.