Efforts to restore power after ice storm now in the home stretch: authorities

TORONTO – There are some optimistic signs in Central and Eastern Canada, where an ice storm a week ago left hundreds of thousands without power.

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne says the number of customers waiting to be reconnected in Toronto has been trimmed to about 7,400 — less than half what it was last night.

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford said this weekend there’s “light at the end of the tunnel” in his city and if all goes well, everyone Toronto might have power by Tuesday.

Toronto Hydro CEO Anthony Haines has also said he sees the finish line approaching, although he wouldn’t predict when that might happen.

Today’s predicted high in Toronto is 3 C, the same as Saturday. That has caused ice to break off some tree branches and buildings, bringing down power lines.

Wynne says things are largely back to normal outside Toronto, though the Hydro One website shows power is still out for about 1,200 homes and businesses elsewhere in Ontario.

The latest tally also shows 7,000 remain in the dark in Quebec, and 8,700 in New Brunswick.

Toronto Hydro CEO Anthony Haines said he expects crews to make significant progress Sunday, with most customers coming back on the grid by Monday.

“We’re now hour by hour,” he said in a news conference, adding crews will continue to work until every home and business has light and heat again.

But he suggested the effects of the ice storm — particularly on the city’s trees — could be felt long after power is restored.