Wednesday, April 23rd12.7°C

Ice-storm blackout enters day six

Utility companies say they understand the difficulties being experienced by tens of thousands of people in Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick who are still without power after last weekend's brutal ice storm.

Authorities are pleading for patience as hydro crews work around the clock, but some utilities warn that certain homes and business may not get their electricity back until the new year.

There are also concerns that wind gusts expected in some communities could bring down ice-laden tree branches, potentially cutting power to more customers.

In Ontario — where about 600,000 customers lost power at the height of the storm — about 38,500 customers remain without hydro.

In Quebec, there are about 4,500 customers without hydro and in New Brunswick, 16,000 customers remain in the dark.

In Toronto, where 32,000 homes and businesses are waiting for power to be restored, Mayor Rob Ford says expected wind gusts are the biggest concern.

Toronto Hydro CEO Anthony Haines says additional damage is expected from those winds, which could add to the outages that had been caused by what he called "one of the largest storms" in the utility's history.

"We feel for these customers and we understand their lives have been turned over as a result of this storm," he said. "We're working as hard as possible and will not stop until the lights are back on for everyone."

The Canadian Press

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