AJAX, ON, July 22, 2013 /CNW/ - The powerful windstorm that struck Gravenhurst on Friday continues to impact local residents. More than 1,500 Veridian customers are still without power, as service crews work 16-hour days to clear trees and re-build power lines.
"The magnitude of the damage is astounding," says Chris O'Connor, Veridian's Manager of Line Services. "I've worked in the lines trade for 26 years, and I've never seen damage this extensive."
Friday's storm initially resulted in the loss of electricity to all of Veridian's 6,000 customers in Gravenhurst. Service was restored to most urban areas of the community over the weekend, but customers in areas hardest hit by the winds and in outlying areas continue to be affected.
Veridian has suspended much of its regular work in other parts of its service areas, and has redeployed all available work crews to Gravenhurst. Additional contract crews have been retained to assist with tree clearing and removal. In total, the utility has 32 line and contractor staff committed to the Gravenhurst area.
According to O'Connor, while the initial focus is on restoring power to the remaining affected customers, final clean-up work will continue for some time to come. "Our current priority is repairing or replacing many kilometers of damaged overhead lines and equipment," he says. "However, once this is done, the entire system will need to be inspected and repairs made to ensure that it's ready for the next weather event".
It is currently projected that it may take another three to four days before all remaining affected residents have their power restored.
Residents are reminded to exercise extreme caution around damaged poles and downed wires. All fallen wires should be considered live and dangerous. Residents are urged to report the locations of fallen wires to Veridian's 24-hour Outage Hotline by calling 1-866-579-6819.
Veridian Connections Inc. safely and reliably delivers electricity to more than 116,000 customers in the Cities of Pickering and Belleville, the Towns of Ajax, Port Hope and Gravenhurst, and the communities of Uxbridge, Bowmanville, Newcastle, Orono, Port Perry, Beaverton, Sunderland and Cannington. Veridian Connections Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Veridian Corporation. The City of Pickering, the Town of Ajax, the Municipality of Clarington and the City of Belleville jointly own Veridian Corporation.
For further information:
Sales & PR Representative - Corporate Communications
Veridian Connections Inc.
905-427-9870, extension 2218