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St. Clair Hydro fire highlights need for ongoing improvements

An explosion at a sidewalk transformer on St. Clair West near Yonge on Monday will provide Toronto Hydro with an extra boost in their application to increase the pace of their equipment updates.

"We are constantly upgrading infrastructure when we can and we have been looking for a more aggressive plan," says spokeswoman Tanya Bruckmüller-Wilson. They have an application before the Ontario Energy Board, their regulator, for increased funding for 850 projects over the next three years.

Last year, Toronto Hydro spent about $300 million in upgrading equipment, a third of which, Bruckmüller-Wilson estimates, are "past their lifespans."

Though the probable cause of Monday’s fire, erosion from street salt, is not being specifically addressed in the renewal efforts, other potential causes of such fires and their resultant outages -- such as the ones at Upper Canada College, a retirement residence, and one other apartment building, according to Jennifer Link, another Hydro spokeswoman -- will be avoided by replacing equipment that is often 50 years old.

Writer: Bert Archer
Source: Tanya Bruckmüller-Wilson

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