The numbers are slowly dropping, but seven days after power first went out across Toronto, 16,000 customers are still in the dark, Toronto Hydro said Saturday evening.
With some residents having been in the dark since last Sunday, Toronto Mayor Rob Ford warned citizens that it may take until Tuesday for power to be fully restored but said “we can see the light at the end of the tunnel.”
Toronto Hydro CEO Anthony Haines, however, hoped the lights would be back on sooner.
“This is the first time in seven days that I’ve been able to stand here and say, 'I can see the end,'" Mr. Haines said at city hall. "It’s right there and I can see it coming, I just can’t tell you the hour that we’re going to cross the finish line.”
Mr. Haines said crews are continuing to restore power across the city, calling the restoration effort “monumental” with hundreds of crews working around the clock to reconnect residents.
“We will not stop until every customer has power restored,” he reiterated.
However, Mr. Haines said the last 12 hours had been a story of “ups and downs,” and described the situation as “fluid” with outages still occurring across the city.
And with the weather forecast calling for warmer temperatures, Mr. Ford warned residents to watch for falling ice. One worker from Hamilton has already sustained non-life-threatening injuries due to loose ice, the mayor said.
EMS officials also said one civilian sustained a “very serious head injury” after a piece of ice struck the individual on the head.
Forestry crews continue to clean up fallen trees and limbs scattered throughout the city, and crews from Ottawa and London, Ont., have been called in to assist with the job.
The number of people using the city’s warming centres continues to drop with the mayor citing that 258 people stayed in the temporary shelters on Friday night – a number that peaked at about 1,000 earlier this week.
About 80 streetlights throughout the city remain without power.
Power continues to be out in 80 Toronto Community Housing units, a number that has risen slightly from the 76 reported on Friday.
When asked about his lack of communication with Premier Kathleen Wynne, Mr. Ford said: “Everyone is working together. There are no problems. I want to thank the province for their help and things are going as good as they can go. We’re moving as fast as we can.”
Mr. Ford said he would be “out and about” visiting Scarborough – one of the worst hit areas – on Saturday. He also said that during his time as mayor, this has been the worst disaster he’s had to deal with.
“This is worse than the water storm that we had in July,” Mr. Ford said.
While Mr. Haines remained adamant that the priority right now is to return hydro to customers, he did say after the situation is resolved, there will be discussions regarding future improvements and “there is no doubt learning is to be had.”
Outside of the city, under 1,700 customers in Ontario are still waiting for power to be restored. Quebec had 11,900 outages as of Saturday night, while 8,400 customers in New Brunswick remain without power.
With files from the Canadian Press