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May 21, 2022, 1 month and a day later, Action Plan Motion 24.4 passes City Council

On the day, 3-1-1 was overwhelmed, Hydro stopped reporting, 176,008 customers were left without electricity and more; it will be -30C soon


CERTP (Community Emergency Response Team Plan)

Thank-you for your email and concern about community preparedness.

I have requested a post mortem following the May 21 derecho storm and the City has confirmed this will take place.  I will be included in that assessment which will focus on the City of Ottawa’s response.

Hydro Ottawa is not under the authority of City Council.  They have been silent since power was restored.  As such, I worked with my colleague Coun King over a few days and crafted the below motion.  We introduced it two weeks ago and debate and a vote Wednesday [June 22, 10:00AM] Motion 24.4.

It is my expectation that community engagement and involvement during a similar future event can be worked on and improved.  We have many able bodied individuals to assist and a clear game plan needs to be developed.  I agree wholeheartedly.

I will share what I learn moving forward.

Take care,

Riley Brockington


Moved by: Councillor R. King

Seconded by: Councillor R. Brockington

WHEREAS the severe derecho storm (equivalent to a category EF2 tornado with winds of up to 190 km/h) that the City of Ottawa experienced on May 21, 2022 extensively damaged the electricity infrastructure of overhead wires serving the City, particularly in areas with dense tree canopy, causing a period of many days of power outage for much of the City; and

WHEREAS throughout this prolonged power outage, the primary electricity provider within the City, Hydro Ottawa, is commended for working tirelessly and courageously to restore power with all of the resources it could muster, doing what some have characterized as one year’s worth of work in six days; and

WHEREAS during the power restoration efforts, Hydro Ottawa was repeatedly unable to effectively communicate with its clients to provide timely, accurate and reliable information about where and when power outages would be resolved, particularly on a City ward- or neighbourhood-specific basis in the most affected areas; and

WHEREAS the residents of the City of Ottawa wish to be assured that similar difficulties in communicating and in providing information will not occur again should there ever be a similar power outage crisis experienced within this City;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that Mayor Watson write to the CEO of Hydro Ottawa requesting that Council and the residents of Ottawa be informed of the details of an action plan to:

  1. a) improve the ability to effectively communicate within the community during a crisis such as this prolonged power outage by providing, timely, accurate and reliable, Ward and neighbourhood-specific information about what, where, and when power outages are being addressed and are expected to be resolved, and be more transparent about the decision criteria in establishing priorities for restorative action;
  2. b) explore with City staff the possibility of integrating Hydro Ottawa crisis communications with communication systems operated by the City of Ottawa for similar purposes, or Hydro Ottawa using the City’s communication systems during such crises;
  3. c) accelerate the modernization of the Smart Grid, including enabling predictive tools to provide more accurate and reliable estimations of when area-specific power outages are likely to be resolved;
  4. d) identify and understand the vulnerabilities and needs for infrastructure improvements to enhance the resiliency of the local power grid, and to provide a timeline for these capital investments; and
  5. e) improve the logistics planning for contingencies such as this crisis, to muster the necessary resources more quickly and efficiently to undertake power restoration efforts with greater efficacy and timeliness.

Subject: Re: CERTP (Community Emergency Response Team Plan)

We are looking back at the Derecho event of recent times and beginning to reflect and assemble materials to be community level ready and helpful, able to engage in an effective way, together.

A question was raised, has the city debriefed with hydro? Do you know? There was a tornado / rough weather notice today. We may not know when, but we do know what can happen now.

In a repeat scenario should we have rec centers equipped, for volunteer operated depots, schools or DER’s to reenergized local distribution (Distributed Energy Resources since CCMP has recommended this infrastructure strategy)

We are talking about the most important of things here.

Can you help on the debrief and what we should be prepared for? We have the manuals but they don’t really cover this situation.

Yes I remain calm and patient 

Dave

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