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Major power outage plunges Toronto city into darkness, disrupts businesses

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Athletics store staff are turned away from entering Eaton Centre shopping mall during an power outage in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, Aug. 11, 2022.(Photo by Reuters)

Around 10,000 people in the Canadian capital of Toronto were left without electricity on Thursday afternoon after a major power outage plunged the offices of top businesses into darkness.

This power outage, which is said to have happened due to the impact of a port mobile crane on a power transmission line disrupted the lives of thousands of people, as well as commercial and banking activities in downtown Toronto.

Toronto Hydro, which is in charge of electricity in the nerve center of ​​Canada's largest city, said that with the coordination of Hydro One, the electricity distribution company was able to restore power to half of the 10,000 residents and some businesses after about five hours.

"Earlier this evening, Toronto Fire cleared the station allowing our crews to safely reroute and restore power to Toronto Hydro," Hydro One said in a statement posted on Twitter, referring to the company that distributes electricity in downtown Toronto.

Several sectors in the financial and business district of Toronto, which were among the busiest areas in Canada, suffered power outages after the incident, including Toronto Police Headquarters, St. Lawrence Market, Toronto City Hall and Eaton center. 

Some branches of the biggest banks, including Royal Bank of Canada, Toronto-Dominion Bank and Bank of Montreal were forced to shut and the staff were seen sitting in dark in some locations, according to a Reuters report.

“It was 12.39, we were working in the office and suddenly it went blank,” Santiago Orazco, who works in Scotia Plaza in downtown Toronto was quoted as saying in the report. “A bunch of people have exited from the emergency door along with us.“

According to Toronto Fire Services, it received “numerous call” from people trapped in elevators during the outage. 

"Came to town for the day - hopped in an elevator just before the power went out. Still in here. Terrible timing," Canada's immigration minister, Sean Fraser, said in a tweet at 1:10 p.m. He had since left the elevator.

Later on Thursday evening, the city administration released a statement saying the outage "may have been caused by a subcontractor to Southland-Astaldi Joint Venture (SAJV), a contractor for the Ashbridges Bay Treatment Plant outfall project," and an investigation is currently underway.

“The City has launched a full investigation and has requested a full report from SAJV to understand what happened and what needs to be done to ensure this does not happen again,” the spokesperson said.

This power outage occurred only a month after a malfunction in the system of Rogers Communications Inc (RCIb.TO) deprived a large number of users in the country of receiving telecommunication services for about 19 hours.

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