Hydro One to invest $16 million to reduce Muskoka power outages

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Ontario Construction News staff writer

Hydro One is energizing Muskoka with a $16 million investment aimed at reducing the number of power outages that happen in the area every year.

Ontario’s largest electricity transmission and distribution company recently announced plans to add new technologies and additional hazardous trees trimming to reduce the number, size and duration of power outages experienced in the Muskoka region.

“Any outage —no matter how short— can disrupt people’s daily lives, businesses and productivity. Through these investments, Hydro One plans to provide more reliable power that the communities in Muskoka region are counting on,” said Jason Fitzsimmons, chief corporate affairs and customer care officer at Hydro One.

“This is part of our plan to modernize an aging distribution system by making prudent investments in new technology, replacing old poles and trimming hazardous trees.”

MP Norm Miller was at the announcement in Huntsville.

“Taking steps to decrease the frequency of power outages and to increase the rate at which the inevitable outage can be rectified is a huge boon to rural communities,” he said. “Safe and reliable power is essential for supporting local families, businesses and our communities.”

In addition to improving service to local residents, improvements are expected to boost the region’s economic vitality.

“A reliable power system is essential to Muskoka’s community,” said John Klinck, chair of the District of Muskoka. “Hydro One’s investment in our region to reduce outages and improve safety will certainly have a direct impact on the daily lives of many Muskokans and is great news for local businesses.”

Over the next two years, Hydro One is modernizing its distribution grid with new devices to remotely monitor the system. This will allow the company to quickly and remotely identify the location of any outages, and take action to restore power from the Ontario Grid Control Center, Hydro One’s central hub that oversees daily operations.

As part of Hydro One’s new, more effective and efficient program for trimming hazardous trees, corridors in the region will now be trimmed every three-years instead of the original 8 to 10-year cycle. Together, the company believes these initiatives will reduce the number and duration of power outages in the region.

These modernization and maintenance improvements include:

  • the installation of 450 communicating fault indicators to better detect the location of an outage
  • connecting 38 smart switches to limit the number of customers impacted by outages and improve power restoration times
  • tree trimming along 2,000 kilometers of power lines

Much of Hydro One’s electricity system was built in the 1950s. To help keep the public safe, reduce power outages and offset the need for more expensive emergency repairs, Hydro One plans to invest more than $3 billion over five-years.

Changes are expected to be fully implemented in about two years.

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