It is important for residents to remain aware of current and forecast water levels on the Ottawa River. Although the Ottawa River Regulatory Committee is reporting the river has reached its peak, water levels are expected to remain above seasonal levels and will pose a risk for some time. Water levels pose a particular risk when it comes to the energization of your home.
Residents should not consider reconnecting utilities until the risks associated with flooding are no longer a concern.
If power for residents has been disconnected, contact an Electrical Safety Authority (ESA) Inspector. Each home will have to be assessed before being reconnected by Hydro One. Homes that have experienced more serious flooding will have to hire a licensed electrical contractor. Residents should hire only a licensed electrician and avoid door-to-door salespeople. Hydro One and the ESA are responsible for restoring power and have more information about how to reconnect your home including a list of licensed electrical contractors in your area.
Returning home after a flood
If you have water contact or damage to your electrical system:
- If water in your basement has risen above the electrical outlets, baseboard heaters, furnace or electrical panel, DO NOT enter the basement until the power has been disconnected by the local electric utility.
- If your electrical system has been affected, your utility may not be able to restore power to your property until damage has been assessed and necessary repairs have been made.
- Hire a Licensed Electrical Contractor to evaluate your home’s electrical system to determine if it is safe to have the local electric utility restore power to your home.
- The contractor will file for a permit with the ESA so there is a record of the work.
- When the contractor completes the work, the contractor will notify ESA and the ESA Inspector will confirm work has been done safely and power can be reconnected.
- ESA will inform the utility that it is safe to reconnect.
- The utility will reconnect when it is able to do so.
- Ask the contractor for a copy of the ESA Certificate of Inspection for your records and insurance.
If you are using a portable standby generator
- Clearly understand your electricity requirements to ensure the unit is the correct size and voltage for your application.
- Purchase the appropriate generator accessories, including:
- an approved transfer device or switch
- a properly sized connector cord and plugs
- Never use a generator indoors; use it in a dry area outdoors and away from open doors, windows and vents.
- Check the generator and all component parts to ensure that they have been approved by a recognized certification agency.
- Never connect portable generators to electrical appliances or wiring components that have been affected by flood water.
- If you have to use extension cords, make sure they are the grounded type with three prongs and rated for how you’re planning to use them. Coiled cords can get extremely hot; always uncoil cords and lay them flat.
- Gasoline and its vapors are extremely flammable. Allow the generator engine to cool at least 2 minutes before refueling and always use fresh gasoline.
- Standby generators that are permanently installed into your electrical wiring must have a transfer device to protect your home and the utility system by preventing generator power from flowing back into the utility system.
- Do not backfeed your permanent electrial system with a portable generator without a proper transfer switch.
The Electrical Safety Authority (ESA) and Hydro One are the technical organizations responsible for providing electricity to your homes and work independent of the City of Ottawa. The City has reached out to each of these organizations to obtain the answers to some of your questions.
When will my hydro be reconnected?
Before the Electrical Safety Authority and Hydro One can reconnect hydro, staff must ensure local roads are stable enough to support a hydro truck.
The condition of neighbouring properties can affect yours. This means that your house may be clear, but nearby homes are not clear. If others have water in their homes, it could create a safety hazard for residents or crews responding to the flood.
The Electrical Safety Authority and Hydro One will not be able to reconnect power until it is safe to do so.
If my electricity/hydro has been shut off due to flooding, who do I contact about getting it turned on again and reenergized?
Please visit the Electrical Safety Authority’s website or contact them at 1-877-ESA-SAFE for further information. The Electrical Safety Authority has information on what to do on returning home after a flood, which includes hiring a Licensed Electrical Contractor. The City recommends that you keep receipts for any fees you may be charged.
There are individuals coming to my home claiming to be contractors and electricians to evaluate my electrical system – how do I know if they are legitimate or not?
There have been reports of companies coming door-to-door to offer services to residents. It is recommended that you visit the Electrical Safety Authority’s website or contact them at 1-877-ESA-SAFE for further information prior to obtaining unsolicited services.
What should I do before the power is restored?
Appliances that were left plugged in must be unplugged. This includes lights, appliances, and electronic equipment. (Note: stoves do not need to be unplugged).
If appliances, electrical outlets, switch boxes or fuse/breaker panels have been flooded, do not energize or return to service until they have been inspected by a licensed electrical contractor. For more information, visit the Electrical Safety Authority's website or contact them at 1-877-ESA-SAFE.
If Enbridge has shut off gas due to flooding, who do I contact about getting it turned on again?
- Contact Enbridge at 1-877-362-7434
- Enbridge will come and do a property assessment and determine if it is safe to reconnect the gas supply
- Once inspection has passed, the homeowner must contact an approved HVAC contractor
- The HVAC contractor will connect all gas-fueled appliances (furnace, hot water tank, dryer, stove, etc)
Other important information for residents
I am hearing that the water level has peaked – can I remove sandbags?
No, you should not remove sandbags around your home as water levels continue to remain high. Check ottawa.ca, the City of Ottawa’s social media pages or call 3-1-1 for the most up-to-date information.
Who can I contact about issues relating to mental health?
Ottawa Public Health can provide assistance relating to any mental health issues and also has information on the flooding event. Visit OttawaPublicHealth.ca or call 613-580-6744.
Where can I go for more information or for assistance?
The West Carleton-March Community Support Centre at 262 Len Purcell Lane is a one-stop shop for information. Representatives from the City of Ottawa, Ottawa Public Health, the Canadian Red Cross, Ontario’s Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, St. John’s Ambulance and the Electrical Safety Authority are onsite to answer questions and provide help. The Canadian Red Cross is also providing information on how affected residents can apply for financial assistance.
There are several ways floodwater can enter your home and pose health or safety risks. Visit Ottawa Public Health for information about staying safe during and after a flood.
Being prepared and having a plan will help residents deal with the stress and disruption that go along with flooding events.
Stay away from flooded areas
People are advised to stay away from flooded areas as to not impede the flood response operations. All unnecessary foot and road traffic in impacted areas should be avoided. Residents who are not volunteering and do not have property in the area should stay away.
Residents should avoid slopes and hills close to bodies of water and exercise extreme caution at all times.
The City of Ottawa is asking residents to stay off the Ottawa river in and around the areas impacted by the recent floods. Boating close to shore may cause wakes which contribute to additional damage to homes, flood barriers and so forth.
Tips to prevent sewer backups and flooding
Learn how to prevent sewer backups and basement flooding.
The City asks residents to ensure that children and pets are kept away from City wading pools and play structures in parks located near a river.
Parks at risk for water pooling and flooding include:
- Andrew Haydon Park, 3127 Carling Avenue
- Barnett Park, 2045 Regional Road 174
- Blair Road Boat Launch, Massey Lane/Ottawa River Pathway
- Brantwood Park, 39 Onslow Crescent (wading pool)
- Britannia Park, 2805 Carling Avenue (wading pool)
- Brewer Park, 100 Brewer Way
- Dutchie’s Hole Park, 154 Mann Avenue (wading pool)
- New Edinburgh Park, 203 Stanley Avenue
- Osborne Park, 21 Osborne Street
- Petrie Island, 795 Trim Road
- Riverain Park, 400 N River Road
- Strathcona Park, 25 Range Road (wading pool)
- Windsor Park, 1 Windsor Avenue (wading pool)