Ear to the Ground - Spring 2015 - (Page 21)

FEATURE B Y B R A N D O N S M I T H , I N S P E C T I O N S & L O C AT E S , P O W E R S T R E A M I N C . Ice Storm 2013: We Have the Power to Survive W elcome to the Great White North. Best-selling author, John Steinbeck, once wrote, "What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness." Here in Canada, we are used to the extremely cold and sometimes unforgiving winter. We are teased by other nations worldwide for the stereotypical belief that we, as Canadians, live in igloos and tough out each winter around large bonfires keeping each other warm. As humorous as this Canadian stereotype is, it may occasionally hold a small bit of truth. On December 21, 2013, a heavy downpour of rain hit Southern Ontario. From as far west as Sarnia, through the Greater Toronto Area, following the northern shores of Lake Ontario to east of Brockville, 40mm of rain fell in a 24-hour period. The rain quickly transformed into ice that evening as the temperature dropped. In the morning, the downpour and sudden freeze gave many plants a surreal look of icy beauty. Although fascinating to the eye, this sudden freeze was soon to become a major concern to many people. As a thick layer of ice formed on vegetation and overhead wires, which drastically increased their size and weight in a small period of time. The combination of ice and strong winds was too much for many tree branches, causing them to break and damage the overhead system. This resulted in mass power outages SPRING 15 across Southern Ontario. At one point, more than two million people were without electricity - some for hours, others for days. The arrival of the storm was not a complete surprise, as Hydro System Control throughout Southern Ontario began tracking the storm prior to its arrival. News release distribution and other related media messages were initiated to inform the public about how to prepare for power outages. Customer service staff, field staff and contractors, locally and from neighbouring provinces and the USA, were on standby to support system control, many of whom sacrificed their holiday vacations. All staff was aware of the serious potential for mass power outages and everyone was preparing for the worst. The storm hit, power was lost, and it was time for everyone to take action. Not only were the electrical utilities across Southern Ontario faced with the problem of restoring power as safely and quickly as possible, but this event also affected many of the other utilities. Telecommunication lines were torn down due to falling branches. Gas utilities were concerned about the effects on their system caused by a sudden drop 21

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Ear to the Ground - Spring 2015

President's Message
2015 Dig Safe Symposium Awards
Damage Prevention and Innovation
High Pressure Transmission Pipeline Safety
Delivery of Locates in Ontario
ORCGA's Damage Prevention Technician, DPT Program
Ice Storm 2013: We Have the Power to Survive
Our Industry is Constantly Changing
Index of Advertisers

Ear to the Ground - Spring 2015