The City of Toronto launched an investigation into why a widespread power outage affected thousands of customers on Thursday, noting that it may have been caused by a subcontractor working on a wastewater project near the Port of Toronto.
A large swath of Toronto’s downtown core lost power throughout the afternoon and into the evening, leaving office buildings, a major mall and Toronto Metropolitan University without electricity.
Toronto Hydro and Hydro One said it restored power to more than 10,000 customers by Thursday evening.
A city spokesperson says an investigation is now underway to determine the exact cause after a crane on a barge came into contact with a power line.
“The power outage affecting downtown Toronto may have been caused by a subcontractor to Southland-Astaldi Joint Venture (SAJV), a contractor for the Ashbridges Bay Treatment Plant outfall project,” the spokesperson said as part of a statement.
“The incident occurred away from the construction sites while the barge was in transit within the Port of Toronto waterways. No injuries were reported.”
The City of Toronto has requested a full report from SAJV to “understand what happened and what needs to be done to ensure this does not happen again.”
The Ashbridges Bay Treatment Plant was built in 1910 and is one of Canada’s largest and oldest water treatment plants.
With a budget of over $300 million, the Ashbridges Bay Treatment Plant outfall project has been called the most effective stormwater management program in the city’s history.
Considered a critical program that will expand Toronto’s wastewater treatment capacity, the outfall project is anticipated to improve the city shoreline, beaches, and Lake Ontario’s water quality. Once complete, the new outfall will be able to handle up to 3,923 megaliters of water per day.
Tory: Hydro One worked tirelessly to restore power
A Toronto Hydro spokesperson confirmed with The Canadian Press that the outage, which hit around 12:30 p.m., affected approximately 10,000 customers.
The utility said that power was restored to half of them by 6 p.m. and the remaining customers at around 8 p.m.
The outage affected customers from Carleton Street south to Queens Quay East and York Street east to Bayview Avenue.
The outage map covered the financial district, Toronto Metropolitan University and the bustling Eaton Centre mall.
The storefronts at the popular shopping hub and the electronic billboards surrounding Yonge and Dundas Square outside the mall immediately went dark when the outage hit.
Toronto Mayor John Tory thanked those without power for their patience.
“Once the power is back on for everyone, I know Hydro One and Toronto Hydro will be working to determine exactly what happened in this incident,” he said in a statement posted to his Twitter account.