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Behind the scenes video: GSU working overtime while restoring power to Sudbury residents after downburst

About 400 homes remain without electricity as workers from Sudbury, North Bay, Muskoka and Sault Ste. Marie face unique challenges

For the third night in a row, almost 400 homes in Greater Sudbury are without power after Monday's downburst felled trees and took down hydro poles throughout the city. 

At one point during the storm, some 4,000 residences were without electricity. 

To say workers from Greater Sudbury Utilities, North Bay Hydro, Lakeland Hydro and Sault Ste. Marie Public Utilities Commission are merely 'lending a hand' downplays the intense effort underway in the city, particularly in the Woodbine and Grandview area. 

In that neighbourhood, fallen trees took power lines from within backyards, meaning some poles need to be replaced by hand. 

Rodney Guy is chief system operator in the control room at Greater Sudbury Utilities (GSU). Guy said that while downed transformers and wires produced the most dangerous scenarios after the storm, the real challenge they face is clearing lines to install the new poles. 

"Once the poles are in, the rest of it is not that difficult,” he said. “Hanging transformers, we do it on a daily basis. Re-conductoring is not an issue -- we have the equipment. It's just getting the poles in the ground, especially on the back lots because they have to be done by hand … It takes a while."

On the first night, a large part of the work involved cleanup.

"I'd say it's very similar to tornado damage we've seen in the past," said Carey Gilligan, operations supervisor with GSU West Nipissing. "They're saying downbursts; one in the same in my mind. A 100-kilometre an hour wind is a 100-kilometre an hour wind – 85 foot trees snapped right off."

City residents can take a look at the public utilities' control room and hear site supervisors explain what they're doing in the video above. 


Allana McDougall

About the Author: Allana McDougall

Allana McDougall is a new media reporter at Northern Life.
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