Saturday, July 2, 2022

Even eight days after the derecho was destroyed, these Ottawas still lack strength. Nation World News

Jay Persaud, left, points to his wife Naan as he examines a tree that fell at his neighbor’s house after a May 21 storm. Persaud says that without electricity or internet it has become difficult to run the insurance process. (Avantika Anand / CBC)

On Sunday, Anshul Melville carried a chainsaw to the trees that fell in the front yard of his Pineglen Annex home during last weekend’s deadly storm.

For more than a week, Melville has been cleaning up that mess—but his biggest challenge is that he can’t fix it himself.

“There’s no heat, no hot water,” said Melville, one of about 10,000 Hydro Ottawa customers who still have no electricity, eight days after the storm.

In an emergency, Melville is using a rented backup generator to keep his phone charged.

But this temporary solution, even if used sparingly, is expensive. Melville says he’s spending more than $100 a day just to keep the generator running—and he’s starting to get tired.

“We want tough, tough [our] Power back,” he said.

‘roughing it’

In a Sunday update, Hydro Ottawa said it has restored power to 94 percent of its nearly 180,000 customers affected by the powerful May 21 derecho.

The power utility said it was entering the “final stage of restoration efforts”, with employees scattered across the city trying to reconnect “the remaining isolated outages”.

One of those outages has been at the Merivale home of 95-year-old Mervyn Brown, who hasn’t been able to track down a generator.

He said the past week has been challenging for both him and his wife.

“It has become difficult because we are collecting rainwater to flush toilets,” he said, adding that there is no drinking water in his house.

Even eight days after the derecho was destroyed, these Ottawas still lack strength. Nation World News
Mervyn Brown, 95, says she hasn’t had access to a generator in the days after the devastating Ottawa slammed on May 21. Brown says he and his wife have had to throw away about $1,000 worth of food. (Julia Wong/CBC)

Without electricity for his fridge, Brown says he had to throw out at least $1,000 worth of food. He said this was on top of significant damage caused by the storm that still needed repair.

Jay Persaud’s property was also damaged, and his power outage meant he was unable to begin repairs.

With neither electricity nor internet connection, Persaud said it has become difficult for him to contact his insurance provider.

“I go [nearby] Tim Hortons parking lot to try internet access there. Trying to contact people has been very difficult,” he said.

feeling helpless

Carleton University student Claire Petite lives just off Prince of Wales Drive and said the lack of electricity and internet has “completely disrupted” her life.

She said that it is finding it difficult for her to continue with her studies due to the ongoing outage.

“The accommodations that the university is providing to the students are only going to last as long as the majority of the students are experiencing them,” she said.

“So having to raise my hand and say, no, I need to stay longer – because you have to make the case that we’re still affected by it, and it’s not over yet.”

After eight days of cold rain, confusion and complete darkness, Petit said she was beginning to feel helpless.

She said she hopes that the sanitation workers at Hydro Ottawa and the City of Ottawa haven’t forgotten her neighborhood. So far, she said, she hasn’t received any help from any of them.

“We don’t know when we’re going to get power again,” Petit said.

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