Why and how we plan outages
Why we plan power outages
We must perform work on the electrical system to maintain its safe and efficient operation. To ensure the safety of work crews and the public, some of this work can only be completed with the power lines de-energized, which usually means an outage for some customers.
By planning the outage and doing the necessary work, our crews can prevent a potential unplanned emergency outage in the future, where a part of the system unexpectedly fails or malfunctions.
How we choose outage dates and times
We consider various factors when finalizing a date:
- Safety: public and worker safety is always our primary concern. We need to make sure the work is done in the safest environment possible.
- Weather: some work can’t be done when it is raining, other work can be done under any weather conditions. This is why outages can be sometimes cancelled at the last minute.
- Schools: if an outage may affect a school, we work to ensure that it falls on a day when school isn't in session.
- Community events: if there's a community event or celebration scheduled, we'll try to find another day.
- Traffic management: some work may cause disruptions to traffic. We need to work with municipal officials to ensure our work fits into their traffic management plans.
- Availability of experts: some of the work we must do is very specialized and can only be performed by crews with unique skills and equipment. If this is the case, we must schedule work around their availability.
Steps to take before and after a planned outage in your area
First, keep your contact information up to date in your MyHydro account. We'll be able to contact you faster if there's a change to your outage.
Before a planned outage begins, we recommend that you turn off your lights, electric heaters and major appliances to protect them during the outage.
For the first hour after the power comes back on, only plug in or turn on those electronics and appliances that you really need. This gives the system time to stabilize and prevents it from getting overloaded.
Be prepared for unplanned outages
We can all take steps to prepare for an outage when we know it’s going to happen. But most often, power outages are caused by factors beyond our control – wind, lightning, car accidents, etc. – and can happen at any moment.
Emergency kits and emergency plans are essential ways to prepare. Learn what should be in them, as well as other safety tips and preparation checklists, via the links below.
Frequently asked questions
Planned outages are outages that we typically schedule in advance so that we can work safely on our system. They allow us to conduct emergency repairs, system upgrades, maintenance, new connections and other infrastructure-related work such as pole replacements and voltage conversions.
The work conducted during a planned outage can help prevent unexpected system failures and outages that are often longer in duration and more disruptive.
If your property will be affected by a planned outage we’ve scheduled, we’ll provide you with advanced notice so that you can prepare to be without power.
If you have a MyHydro account, we’ll notify you about a planned outage via email or auto-dialer (automatic phone message). That’s why it’s important to keep your contact information up-to-date by logging in to MyHydro. In addition, a postcard with outage details will be mailed to the service address location.
Planned outages appear in the 'planned outage' section of our outages list two weeks prior to the scheduled date.
Whenever we can, in collaboration with our crews and contractors, our team starts weeks in advance to obtain feedback from commercial customers, municipal offices and community offices such as Business Improvement Associations and local boards on possible dates and times for the necessary outage.
Safety for the public and our crews, weather, traffic control, availability of specialized crews and equipment, community events, and the impact to critical sites, such as schools and hospitals are all taken into consideration when we select a date.
Generally, planned outages most often occur Monday to Friday between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. This is because work must be performed during daylight hours to keep our crews and the public safe.
Noise bylaws in residential areas can sometimes restrict weekend work as our crews use heavy machinery and bright lights to perform work safely. We also need to ensure we have crews available to respond to emergencies when they occur.
Moving work to weekends can incur more costs for us. For work that's in mixed residential and commercial neighbourhoods, weekend work can also be more disruptive for both residents and some businesses, such as hospitality.
We work hard to keep the scheduled date, duration, and start/end times of a planned outage in place.
We may need to reschedule an outage if there is heavy rain, adverse weather, safety concerns, or if crews are required to respond to emergencies.
When we're notified of a reschedule or cancellation prior to the start time we'll send an auto-dialer (phone message), email and cancel the outage in our outage list. You won't receive updated notification by mail.