The storm that hit Ottawa on Saturday, May 21, is now being described by the City & Ottawa Hydro as having done more damage than the ice storm in 1998 or the tornadoes in 2018. The current storm effectively shut down Canada’s capital city for days. While pockets of Ottawa had power, almost 200k customers were without power at the peak. The damage is widespread and seems not easily fixed. It has demonstrated, again, the weakness inherent in a provincial power grid designed around centralized power and limited redundancy. And it seems to have revealed that Ottawa’s power system is riddled with weaknesses; how else to explain outages that dot the map like blisters on the City?
When Greens call for better infrastructure, this is what we mean. We cannot continue to rely on a grid that can be brought to its knees by fierce storms that we know are becoming more severe and more prevalent. The time to act is now. We cannot delay any more.
For those focused on the fiscal, those who complain about tax increases and electricity prices, is this better? What has this cost you? In terms of spoiled food, extra gas burned, lost work, and general stress? Wouldn’t investments in a more robust electrical system, including distributed generation and storage have allowed us to bounce back more quickly? These storms won’t stop anytime soon. But how we prepare for and respond to them can. If we vote for it.
All levels of government must come together and learn, not blame, and take action in the face of the climate emergency. Greens are ready to lead.