Hydro One has reported that power has been restored to Toronto Hydro after an upright crane on a barge in the Port Lands area of Toronto hit three high voltage transmission lines.
Besides the damage to the transmission lines, the ensuing power surge caused further downstream damage to equipment at a power station near The Esplanade and Lower Sherbourne Street.
The crane mishap occurred at around 12:30 p.m. Aug 11 with power restored that evening. The outage included the financial district of downtown including the Eaton Centre and Toronto Police headquarters. The Toronto Hydro outage map showed a large area with no power, from the Don Valley Parkway on the east and encompassing Cabbagetown South.
Hydro One stated it worked closely with Toronto Hydro to restore power, with work focused on both on the Port Lands site and the Esplanade power station.
The City of Toronto also released a statement suggesting the damage may have been caused by a subcontractor to Southland-Astaldi Joint Venture (SAJV), a contractor for the Ashbridges Bay Treatment Plant outfall project.
The incident occurred away from the construction sites while the barge was in transit within the Port of Toronto waterways. The barge was subcontracted by Johnson Bros Construction. No injuries were reported.
The city stated it has launched a full investigation and has requested a full report from the main contractor.
“Safety is always our top priority,” said Hydro One CEO David Lebeter in a statement. “We had all available resources helping to restore power as quickly and safely as possible.”
Hydro One spokesperson Tiziana Baccega Rosa said in a radio interview precautions were taken at both sites with fire crews working to ensure that the Esplanade site was safe for employees to be able to enter to continue rerouting power.
As for the Port Lands site, “A lot of yesterday was spent actually gaining safe access to the site,” said Baccega Rosa. “Is it a live environment, and everyone wanted to make sure that first responders in our crews were entering that it was safe to do so.”
Power was restored to the downtown at around 8 p.m.
The incident falls under federal jurisdiction and is being investigated by a Transport Canada marine safety inspector. A statement said “appropriate action” will be taken if non-compliance with the Canada Shipping Act is identified.
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