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Electrical Safety Authority Working with Safety Partners to Restore Power in wake of Barrie Tornadoes

Mississauga, ON – July 16, 2021 — In the wake of the Barrie tornadoes, the Electrical Safety Authority (ESA) is working with local authorities to access areas without power as safely and quickly as possible. Damage is widespread and severe. 

“Our thoughts are with those who have been impacted by the Barrie tornadoes,” said Dr. Joel Moody, Chief Public Safety Officer. “The safety of the public is our top priority. ESA recognizes the significant disruption a sustained power outage has on daily life. Our Inspectors are working closely with utilities and Licensed Electrical Contractors to ensure storm damaged homes are reconnected in a safe manner to avoid the risk of electrical shock or fire, or further property damage.”

Severe storms can cause widespread damage to powerlines and hydro poles owned by the utility. ESA works closely with utilities to ensure necessary repairs are made and power is restored in a safe manner. 

Storms can also cause damage to the equipment owned by customers that connects their homes to the electricity grid. Licensed Electrical Contractors are the only ones authorized to replace damaged customer-owned equipment and repair the electrical installation 

ESA works closely with Licensed Electrical Contractors to ensure homes can be reconnected to the electricity grid in a safe manner, avoiding the risk of shock or fire. 

If your home’s electrical connection is damaged, you need to contact a Licensed Electrical Contractor to make any necessary repairs. Hiring a handyman or anyone other than a Licensed Electrical Contractor will result in delays in having your power restored. Find a Licensed Electrical Contractor in your area.

Cleaning Up After the Storm

When cleaning up after the storm, follow these tips:  

  • Stay back! Downed powerlines may be live and are extremely dangerous. Electricity can travel through water and the ground around powerlines. Stay back about the length of a school bus (10 metres or 33 feet);  
  • Call 9-1-1 and the local electricity distribution company to report any downed lines. Remain well back; and
  • Wait until the power is off or powerlines are fixed before starting yard cleanup. Downed powerlines may be hidden beneath debris and tree branches. 

Looking for Damage to Electrical Service  

  • As homeowner, you typically own electrical equipment from where the wires attach to the house. This includes the electrical service mast and the wires in it; 
  • Check to see if the mast is pulled away from the wall, broken, or detached from the meter base. Look for sagging wires; and 
  • If you see this or suspect damage, contact a Licensed Electrical Contractor. Ask the Licensed Electrical Contractor to check it and make necessary repairs. Search all Licensed Electrical  Contractors in Ontario and those near you using ESA’s Contractor Look-Up Tool.

Getting Repairs Done 

Only Licensed Electrical Contractors can be hired in Ontario to do residential electrical repairs. They will file a notification of work with ESA, which generates an official record of the work. Hiring anyone other than a Licensed Electrical Contractor will delay having your power restored.  

Once you have hired a Licensed Electrical Contractor:  

  • The contractor will file a notification with ESA so there is a record of the work; 
  • When the contractor completes its repairs, they will notify ESA; and
  • Once the work has been reviewed by ESA, the contractor will receive an ESA certificate of inspection. Ask for a copy of this from the contractor or ESA for your insurance company. 

Portable Generators 

Portable generators can provide security and comfort during power outages. However, they can cause electrical shock and fire hazards if connected or used incorrectly.  
Follow these tips to use your generator safely:  

  • Never use a generator indoors. They produce fatal carbon monoxide fumes, so set them up outside away from windows, doors or vents to your house or your neighbor’s house;   
  • If you’re buying a generator, make sure it has a certification mark from an approved certification agency;   
  • Don’t attach a portable generator directly to your home’s electricity system. It could cause power to flow back into the power grid and electrocute you or a utility worker, or damage the system; and  
  • If you want to permanently connect your generator to your home’s system, you need to file a notification of work with ESA. A Licensed Electrical Contractor must make the connection.

Get more tips on how to stay safe during and after major weather events.


About the Electrical Safety Authority

The Electrical Safety Authority's (ESA’s) role is to enhance public electrical safety in Ontario. As an administrative authority acting on behalf of the Government of Ontario, ESA is responsible for administering specific regulations related to the Ontario Electrical Safety Code, the licensing of Electrical Contractors and Master Electricians, electricity distribution system safety, and electrical product safety. ESA works extensively with stakeholders throughout the province on education, training and promotion to foster electrical safety across the province.

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