The independent panel who reviewed the response and efforts of Toronto Hydro following the December 2013 ice storm recommend changes to the Ontario Building Code (OBC) regarding backup power in high-rises.
The report, prepared by Davies Consulting LLP, covered nine areas of the restoration effort ranging from planning to response practices.
As a result of the storm, 57 per cent (about 416,000) of Toronto Hydro customers experienced power interruptions.
According to the panel, “Toronto Hydro executed the restoration in a manner consistent with industry practices.” However, a total of 25 recommendations were made for future incidences, including provincial code revisions to increase requirements for the length of backup power in high-rise buildings during outage events. This would mean the retrofit of apartment buildings to keep systems such as heating and phone services available during power disruptions.
Currently, Ontario law requires backup power to provide occupant evacuation in case of fire, but emergency power need for essential services is not addressed.
Additional recommendations include:
- developing the capacity to provide customers with timely updates and critical information during outages;
- updates to operational systems to provide real-time intelligence during major events; and
- improved collaboration with the City of Toronto in terms of communication, preparedness, and awareness.
“The recommendations made by the panel provide some great insight on how we can improve our response when another grid emergency occurs,” said Toronto Hydro president Anthony Haines. “The findings indicate we did well in many areas, but like all first time experiences, we stressed our people, systems, and processes—we now know where we can improve.”
Click here to read the full report.