Estimated Times of Restoration (ETRs)

Providing customers with timely outage updates.

An ETR is our best estimate, based on all available information, as to how long it’s going to take our crews to restore power. We understand that our customers rely on ETRs to help manage their daily lives and make alternate arrangements during an outage. That's why we strive to provide accurate ETRs as they become available.

Why does it take a while to determine ETRs?

We follow a specific restoration process, which can take time. Crews must first arrive on site to assess damage, investigate the issue and determine how to safely make repairs before they can establish or confirm an ETR and begin their work.

During this process, crews may run into challenges that delay their ability to determine restoration times. These include:

Crews drive to the outage sites on the same roads the rest of us use. This means that heavy traffic can slow them down, especially during rush hour or extreme weather.

Our crews work with complex underground and overhead equipment, and sometimes finding the issue can take time. In some cases, crews have to patrol above-ground wires that can run for several kilometres. In fact, Toronto Hydro has more than 28,000 kilometres of wires across the city. This can make it tricky for crews to determine the exact location of the problem.

During extreme weather, crews may be faced with unsafe work environments, such as icy conditions, lightning, heavy rainfall and/or high winds. During these situations, crews may have to wait until it’s safe to begin investigating the cause of an outage. This may delay their ability to establish or confirm ETRs.

During emergencies affecting hundreds or thousands of customers, we often receive safety calls about downed wires, trees and poles. Safety is our top priority and crews attend to these reports first.

If an outage was caused by equipment failure, crews may need to collect replacement parts or arrange to have equipment delivered on site.

Preliminary ETRs

Before crews arrive on site, we may be able to provide preliminary ETRs based on historical data. Preliminary restoration times are estimates based on data from past outages that we’ve collected and analyzed. We study the data for patterns that may help us predict approximate restoration times. These patterns include the nature of the outage, equipment type and location.

Often times, the first ETR you see is a preliminary. However, it’s important to remember that once crews arrive on site and assess the damage of an outage and identify the issue, the preliminary ETR may change to better reflect the situation.

Why do ETRs change?

We’re responding to calls and dispatching resources in real time, which means ETRs may change depending on the situation. Estimated restoration times may change due to:

Crews may have to pause their work if weather conditions, such as ice storms, lightning or high winds, make it unsafe to work. Downed trees and wires can also impact the restoration process because affected areas have to be made safe and cleared before crews can begin repairs. While this may delay the ETR, it’s necessary to help keep crews safe.

Working with electrical equipment involves a lot of problem-solving. Sometimes, crews find repairs to be more complicated than originally thought. It can take crews and engineers a few tries before the best solution is identified. They may even need special equipment to complete the job.

In some cases, crews make repairs faster than expected and restore power prior to the ETR.