CANADA - Kanata residents left in the dark : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

CANADA - Kanata residents left in the dark Hundreds lose power and can't get answers Melanie Brooks The Ottawa Citizen

Kanata Regional Councillor Alex Munter and hundreds of Kanata residents were left out in the cold yesterday, as hydro to parts of Kanata was cut off and communications between Hydro Ottawa and residents froze.

"I got calls on my voice-mail saying residents couldn't get through to Hydro Ottawa to find out why their power was out," said Mr. Munter. "I couldn't get through either. I eventually talked to a woman at the call centre, but she didn't have any information."

The hydro companies in Ottawa were amalgamated Nov. 1 into one utility, Hydro Ottawa.

"This is very different than the way it used to work with Kanata Hydro," said Mr. Munter. "Before, I could call the after-hours number and people would tell me what's happening because they had something to do with the hydro company.

"It appears that the recent amalgamation means residents, and not even a regional councillor, can get through to a live person to tell you what's happening."

"I've been on the phone for almost an hour," said Ming Yao, a resident of Emerald Meadow community.

"The phone just keeps ringing and ringing. Then it stops. My power has been off for nearly two hours, and I have no idea how much longer it's going to be off for. There's no one to tell me."

Metro Alert is the company that handles the emergency service, but supervisor Jacques Lafleur said all they do is answer the phones and page the hydro company if there's an emergency.

They don't get any information unless Hydro Ottawa calls to tell them, he said.

"They didn't tell us until about 4 p.m. about the problem. Before that, we could only tell people the hydro company was working on the problem, but we didn't know the specifics about the problem," he said.

Mr. Munter said residents who have called his office to complain said they had been without power since 12:30 p.m. and some were told by workers at the call centre they weren't taking any more customer calls.

"A power outage in the dead of winter is serious, and these people have no idea how long they're going to be without heat," said Mr. Munter, who sent an e-mail complaint to the hydro company.

"The thing that's driving people insane is that they have no idea what's going on."

Hydro Ottawa said power was restored to all homes by about 6:30 p.m. last night.

-- Doris (, December 10, 2000

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