A 27 hour power outage follows a violent 5 minute storm where severe winds cut a swath just down the road from us and take the tops of two hydro poles. Where are those candles again?
We’re just getting ready to start dinner and this storm blows through and takes out the power. Nothing too unusual for lake life, but little did we know at the time that this would be one of the bigger outages in our experience of 30+ years. Dinner was to be salmon with hollandaise so we switched to something simpler, mainly because the hollandaise sauce requires the blender, which requires electricity.
We call Hydro One which has a fantastic phone service for tracking power outages and providing updates. 400+ customers in our area without power and an estimated restoration of 8:30pm, then 11:30, then 2:30 am then… we went to bed.
The next morning, still no power. Off to town for some coffee and breakfast. On the way back, there are multiple crews of 6-8 guys each working in our area, yay!
Time for some investigation, I’ve never seen power line repairs up close. It’s 12:45 and the truck below is working on Thunder Ridge Road a short distance from the cottage.
This is one of the trees that went down. Being on the Canadian shield these big trees have very shallow roots due to the rocks, and are quite susceptible to being knocked down in a storm.
Trees get snapped like match sticks but surprisingly the phone lines stayed intact in spite of being dragged all over the place and phone service was never interrupted.
Here one of the bucket trucks is working to get things straightened out before replacing some poles further down the road.
Here is the culprit for our roads outage. Lines are down to the right (our cottages direction) and straight back to another pole up behind Smith Camps.
A closer shot. The poles are almost 40 years old. First installed when the road was put in and 6 years before we started to build our cottage.
I continue down the road and over to Smiths Camps and up a steep hill to where the 2nd crew is working to set a new pole.
They have a very cool machine or tracks that can drill hole as well as lift and position the pole. Here its getting the new pole into position to drop into a hole that the backhoe has prepped. But there is a catch, literally. The arm on the machine is at its limit and it’s not quite clearing the old pole. To avoid the delay and hassle of repositioning the machine, the crew boss is up the pole and pushes it over the top.
It’s in the hole and they are jockeying it around to get it nice and straight.
With the pole in place he’s moving on.
It’s down a steel hill but no problem for this beast.
From this pole, looking back towards our Thunder Ridge Road you can see the phone line in the air but the hot & neutral power lines are on the ground as well as caught up in the trees across the span to the other pole.
A little zoom shot back to the other pole shows the lines clearer. The black one is the phone line and the two low hanging silver ones are the power.
The backhoe is finished his work and is carefully going down the steep hill to drive over to pole #2.
Mean while “the boss” is hooking up the wires. All the hardware on the pole is setup and attached on the ground prior to lifting it into place.
Splicing the wires together is quite in interesting procedure. There is a connector device that is a tube into which the wires are inserted by hand. No crimping, no nothing and once inserted into these tube connectors the line is capable of being pulled tight to get the proper sag between poles.
Over at the other site on thunder Ridge Road, a pole is waiting.
Once again the pole is lifted into place and the backhoe fills in the hole and guy wires are attached and tensioned. This time they have the luxury of a bucket touch and the guys working up to don’t have to put on the spurs and climb the pole.
The “hot” wire is attached and they are just removing the clamp device that allowed them to winch the cable up. To lift this very long span they attached a bully to the top of the pole and then ran it down to another pull on the back of the boom touch, hooking it onto the trailer hitch. Then they ran the rope over to another truck on the road and used the truck to tension the cable.
Lots of messing around here as when they were lifting the cable, it was caught in some trees down by Smiths parking lot. They sent the other boom truck and had to work quite hard at pulling the cable free before they could finalize the tensioning.
With everything reattached a decision was made to cut off the part of the broken pole that was now being suspended soley by the telephone cable. Interestingly enough, these guys were only concerned about the power. It was clearly someone else job to come along afterwards and transfer the telephone cables to the new poles. Bell did that the following day.
Up goes the chain saw…
… and off comes most of the old pole.
It’s now 6:30pm and the crews are cleaning up and moving on. They were remarkably tidy as no leftover bits of wire snips were left behind. They had to check a few things, remove some grounding wires and do something a short distance away that apparently would not take too long. At around 8:30 the power is on! Yahoo! Good job Hydro One!