September 21, 2018

Hydro Ottawa Limited Major Event: September 21, 2018

Prior to Major Event


1. Did the distributor have any prior warning that the Major Event would occur?

Weather forecasts indicated that active weather was probable for the afternoon and evening of September 21st. Wind gusts exceeding 80 kmph were forecast. System Operations personnel reviewed weather radar from several sources early in the day, and at that time the weather system appeared to be tracking toward the Ottawa area. During the event there were two tornadoes (class EF-2 and EF-3) and winds up to approximately 260 km/h.

2. If the distributor did have prior warning, did the distributor arrange to have extra employees on duty or on standby prior to the Major Event beginning? If so, please give a brief description of arrangements.

Hydro Ottawa had a full complement of on-shift personnel, and a full on-call roster of field technicians and management personnel. All Operations groups were notified early in the day of the approaching weather. On-Call trades personnel were sent home at approximately 12:00 p.m. to rest for evening/overnight restoration work.

3. If the distributor did have prior warning, did the distributor issue any media announcements to the public warning of possible outages resulting from the pending Major Event? If so, through what channels?

Hydro Ottawa had some prior warning that the weather would be damaging and therefore did notify the public through social media.

4. Did the distributor train its staff on the response plans for a Major Event? If so, please give a brief description of the training process.

Hydro Ottawa has an established Electrical Emergency Response Plan and Organization. Formal training is completed annually according to Market Rules, and a weekly preparation meeting is held to refresh on-call management personnel.

5. Did the distributor have third party mutual assistance agreements in place prior to the Major Event? If so, who were the third parties (i.e., other distributors, private contractors)?

Hydro Ottawa is a member of the Hydro One Mutual Assistance Agreement with Ontario Local Distribution Companies (LDC's) and a member of the North Atlantic Mutual Aid Group (US based). Hydro Ottawa also has standing service level agreements with forestry contractors, civil contractors and lines contractors for planned and unplanned work.

During the Major Event


1. Please explain why this event was considered by the distributor to be a Major Event.

This event was considered to be a Major Event Day based on the IEEE Standard 1366 method. The daily SAIDI value of 1221 on September 21, 2018 exceeded the daily SAIDI threshold of 5.5, as determined by IEEE Standard 1366, based on the daily SAIDI values for the past five years. The total number of customer hours interrupted was 6808300.

2. Was the IEEE Standard 1366 used to identify the scope of the Major Event? If not, why not?  

Yes, the IEEE Standard 1366 was used to identify the scope of the Major Event.

3. Please identify the Cause of Interruption for the Major Event as per the table in section       

The primary cause of interruption for the Major Event was Loss of Supply.

4. Were there any declarations by government authorities, regulators or the grid operator of an emergency state of operation in relation to the Major Event?        

Hydro Ottawa activated our Electricity Emergency Response Plan at 5:00 p.m. due to the expected duration of outages and more approaching weather. Hydro One declared a Transmission Emergency sometime after 6:00 p.m. City of Ottawa Emergency Operations Centre was activated sometime after 6:00 p.m.

5. When did the Major Event begin (date and time)?       

The first weather related outages were recorded at 12:24 p.m. Multiple circuits were affected by momentary and sustained outages over the next several hours.

6. What percentage of on-call distributor staff was available at the start of the Major Event and utilized during the Major Event?   

All on-call staff were available at the start of the Major Event, and 100% of on-call staff, were utilized during the Major Event.

7. Did the distributor issue any estimated times of restoration (ETR) to the public during the Major Event? If so, through what channels?          

Given the scope of devastation, Hydro Ottawa did not issue estimated times of restoration (ETR) through our outage map at until the third day. Through our website, Twitter, Facebook and the media we did provide continuous regular updates to customers and stakeholders as of September 21 (6:00 p.m.).

8. If the distributor did issue ETRs, at what date and time did the distributor issue its first ETR to the public?   

ETR's for the initial outages were issued by our Outage Management System beginning at 12:24 p.m. on September 21, 2018. Communication of individual outage status was abandoned at 5:20 p.m. after multiple circuits had opened. Storm updates were issued on the Hydro Ottawa website and social media channels until all customers were finally restored.

9. Did the distributor issue any updated ETRs to the public? If so, how many and at what dates and times were they issued?           

Hydro Ottawa used the outage map on our website ( and Twitter to provide ETR updates. Our outage map is refreshed every five minutes with the most up-to-date information, including revised ETRs and new outages.

10. Did the distributor inform customers about the options for contacting the distributor to receive more details about outage/restoration efforts? If so, please describe how this was achieved.         

Throughout the outage response, Hydro Ottawa did significant public outreach through local media, granting more than 100 media interviews over the first four days. Throughout, customers were encouraged to visit our social media accounts, website or call our interactive voice response power outage line to access the latest details on outage restoration.

11. Did the distributor issue press releases, hold press conferences or send information to customers through social media notifications? If so, how many times did the distributor issue press releases, hold press conferences or send information to customers through social media notifications? What was the general content of this information?    

Hydro Ottawa published 13 videos, 250 photos, 35 Facebook posts, 250 pro-active tweets, 4 news releases, 4 updates to stakeholders, and replied to well over 100 media inquiries.

12. What percentage of customer calls were dealt with by the distributor’s IVR system (if available) versus a live representative?

63.6% of callers opted for the IVR and 36.4% of customers opted for a live agent.

13. Did the distributor provide information about the Major Event on its website? If so, how many times during the Major Event was the website updated?

Yes, the outage centre on our website included information on power outages and it was updated every five minutes. In addition alert banner information was posted and updated twice a day on the home page and at the top of every internal page, including the outage centre. Additionally up to date event photos, videos and social feeds from Twitter were made available. New releases were posted as they were created every few hours.

14. Was there any point in time when the website was inaccessible? If so, what percentage of the total outage time was the website inaccessible?

The website became slow at the height of the event but it remained online throughout the outage over multiple days. Accessibility of the site was affected by cellular network saturation. An action was taken to suppress outage map functionality to ensure that maximum resources were allocated to maintaining an online presence. Within 36 hours we were able to deploy an updated outage map that remained online through to the end of the event.

15. How many customers were interrupted during the Major Event? What percentage of the distributor’s total customer base did the interrupted customers represent?        

207,407 customers were interrupted during the Major Event, representing 62% of Hydro Ottawa's total customer base.

16. How many hours did it take to restore 90% of the customers who were interrupted?   

It took approximately 55 hours from the activation of our Electrical Emergency Response Plan to restore 90% of affected customers.

17. Was any distributed generation used to supply load during the Major Event? 

Not directly, but all available distributed generation (DG) did remain paralleled to the Hydro Ottawa distribution system.

18. Were there any outages associated with Loss of Supply during the Major Event? If so, please report on the duration and frequency of Loss of Supply outages.    

21 outages during the Major Event were associated with Loss of Supply corresponding to 21 station outages. The affected stations and outage durations are as follows: TERRY FOX MTS 7.6 hrs BRIDELWOOD 27.2 hrs MARCHWOOD MS 33.6 hrs HINCHEY 53.5 hrs LINCOLN HEIGHTS TD 53.5 hrs RICHMOND SOUTH DS 53.4 hrs WOODROFFE TS 56.5 hrs EPWORTH DS 50.6 hrs ELLWOOD MTS 27.3 hrs ALBION TA 16.4 hrs LISGAR TL 23.5 hrs CARLING TS 23.7 hrs MANORDALE DS 81 hrs UPLANDS MS 15.3 hrs LIMEBANK MS 25.3 hrs SOUTH GLOUCESTER 25.0 hours CENTREPOINTE DS 55 hrs NEPEAN TS 22.2 hrs SOUTH MARCH TS 25.0 hrs KANATA MTS 45.0 hrs FALLOWFIELD MTS 54.5 hrs

19. In responding to the Major Event, did the distributor utilize assistance through a third party mutual assistance agreement?     

Alectra Utilities provided Lines personnel under the Hydro One Mutual Assistance Agreement with Ontario Local Distribution Companies (LDC's) . Hydro Ottawa also used third-party contractors for Forestry and Lines work.

20. Did the distributor run out of any needed equipment or materials during the Major Event? If so, please describe the shortages. 

We did not run out of any needed equipment or materials during the event. Material was well in stock, even for our contractors assisting our restoration efforts. Procurement provided support on site during the entire event. Our main fuel supplier ran into challenges obtaining adequate amounts of fuel during the event, and subsequently is undergoing mitigative action to ensure adequate measures are in place to avoid a similar situation in the future.

After the Major Event


1. What steps, if any, are being taken to be prepared for or mitigate such Major Events in the future (i.e., staff training, process improvements, system upgrades)?  

A debrief of the event was held with all stakeholders. There will be continued focus on on-call and emergency response preparation.

2. What lessons did the distributor learn in responding to the Major Event that will be useful in responding to the next Major Event?       

Efforts going forward will include continued training and a refresher on following the Electricity Emergency Response Plan and ensuring a good understanding of roles and responsibilities. A review of the options available for food for ICC staff and crews during a widespread and lengthy outage will be undertaken. A review of the options available when an outage affects cell tower communications will be initiated. A process for engaging and accepting mutual aid from other utilities will be developed.

3. Did the distributor survey its customers after the Major Event to determine the customers' opinions of how effective the distributor was in responding to the Major Event? If so, please describe the results.      

No, but we did measure social sentiment. Pre-event, (September 20) negative sentiment was at 12.5% and positive was at 37.5%. On September 25 (post-event) negative sentiment had decreased to 6.3% and positive went up from the 37.5% to 58.7%.

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