What Happens When The Power Goes Out?

When the power goes out, we're ready!
photo of a Hydro One Controller in front of a computer at the Ontario Grid Control Centre  

Ontario has a robust and reliable electricity system, but it's occasionally at the mercy of the Canadian climate. In the winter, heavy snow or ice storms can cause power lines to break, while in the summer and fall, fierce winds, rain, and lightning can cause extensive tree damage that leads to power outages. At other times, and even in sunny weather, traffic collisions or animal contact with electrical equipment can cause outages on our system.

When the electricity goes out, we have a six-step recovery plan in place to restore power to our customers as quickly and safely as possible. Learn more in the video below:

  • Step 1

  • Notify
  • Often, we first learn about a power outage when someone calls our Customer Communications Centre, which is open 24 hours a day, all year. Customers can use our automated phone system and automatically notify us of an outage. An electronic “outage report” is created for the call, and automatically sent to the Ontario Grid Control Centre, which operates our power system. From there, the appropriate local crew is notified and will be sent out to assess the situation.

  • Step 2

  • Emergency Restoration
  • We receive many calls during an outage and they are addressed in priority. Our first priority is to respond to 911 emergencies like fires or live lines that are down. We then focus on restoring electricity to essential services such as hospitals, fire and police stations and water and sewage treatment facilities.

  • Step 3

  • Prioritize
  • Guided by the rule “do the greatest good for the greatest number,” we first repair larger system elements that serve a large number of customers and then move on to repair individual lines serving individual customers.

  • Step 4

  • Mobilize
  • We assess the nature and extent of the storm-related damages so that we can quickly mobilize and deploy crews and equipment from across the province, if needed, to the storm damaged area.

  • Step 5

  • Communicate
  • During a power outage, our repair crews keep the Ontario Grid Control Centre up to date on their progress. Our communications department provides Estimated Time of Restoration (ETR) bulletins to the media and local officials. ETR updates can be checked on our website, mobile app, or by phone.

  • Step 6

  • Finish the Job
  • Our crews, management, and dispatchers stay on the job until we have restored power to everyone. We then revisit any temporary repairs and help communities clean up after the storm.

Outage information at your fingertips

Get timely updates, a more localized view and track local
weather with the Storm Centre online map and mobile app.

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What to do in a power outage:
  • Call our province-wide power outage and emergency number at 1-800-434-1235 (24 hours a day, 365 days a year). If your call represents a life-threatening emergency, call 911 first.

  • Remember to always stay clear of downed lines or equipment by at least 10 meters. Never assume that they are safe to approach.

We can help you faster if:
  • You notify us if your phone number changes

  • You know the phone number and location of the home or business you're calling about

  • You use our automated phone system reporting

  • You're able to tell us the possible cause of the outage, such as a tree hitting the line in front of your house or if you see a downed wire.

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