How Power Is Restored

Despite our best efforts, power outages do occur. Severe weather, vehicle accidents, failed equipment and many other reasons can cause power interruptions. Alectra Utilities (formerly PowerStream) staff are highly trained and will respond at any time 24/7 to restore power.

Safety is our first concern:

When responding to any power outage, our first priority is safety; for the public and our employees. When the power does go out, it is because a strategically designed protective component in the power system has functioned to cut off the supply of power to a faulted area. This action prevents further damage to equipment and isolates the supply of power to the area. Our crews are trained to respond and ensure areas are made safe prior to the re-supply of power. Depending on the situation, faulted areas may be isolated by remote actions from the System Control Centre and power supply restored to other non-faulted areas.

Lines crew working on a damaged pole

An orderly process determines restoration priorities:

  1. Ensure impacted areas are made safe. Upon achieving this, restoration efforts are directed to restore power to community critical locations such as hospitals, police, fire, and EMS sites, and other locations such as senior’s homes, pumping stations, sewage plants, and communication centres.
  2. The next priority are dense neighbourhood locations where Alectra Utilities crews can restore power back to a maximum number of customers in the least amount of time.
  3. Crews are then directed to smaller pockets of customers and individual locations.

How do we know where the outages are?

The Alectra Utilities Outage Management System (OMS) is an advanced software application that enables Alectra Utilities System Controllers to manage the utility's response to outages effectively and efficiently. It all begins with a trouble call ...

Five ways a trouble call can be input into the OMS to start the response:

  1. Smart meter
  2. Automatic circuit breaker operation on the distribution system
  3. Alectra Utilities System Controller (manual entry)
  4. Alectra Utilities Customer Care Representative (manual entry)
  5. Customer call into 1-877-963-6900
Alectra Utilities System Control Centre

The application takes real-time statuses of circuit breakers, switches, and especially smart meters, to constantly provide a visualization of the status of the distribution network.

Estimated restoration times:

Alectra Utilities makes every effort to provide accurate information when providing restoration estimates, but they are estimates only, based on initial information about a situation and are revised as reports are received from crews on site and are dependent on the availability of manpower and equipment to effect required repairs.

Depending on the situation, System Controllers can bypass a problem and restore power sooner than expected. In other cases, the cause of the power outage may be difficult to locate or access or there may be several problems so the repair may take longer than estimated.

During severe weather and other dangerous conditions, the situation can change from moment to moment and there may be occurrences when Alectra Utilities cannot provide an estimated restoration time or update an already estimated time. We thank our customers for their understanding and patience.