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Heat strains power grid, causing widespread downtown outage

Toronto Hydro is urging customers to ease off on the air conditioning and use of heavy appliances after the heat and increased demand for power sparked a widespread outage downtown. Friday could be a record-breaker with a forecast high of 36 C.

Hydro crews worked through the night to restore electricity to some 6,500 customers. Toronto Hydro received the call around 8 p.m. Thursday when a circuit breaker at the sub station at George and Adelaide streets, near Jarvis, apparently overheated.

Toronto Hydro spokeswoman Tanya Bruckmueller said the utility is still trying to nail down the exact cause, but said “it’s likely due to some type of equipment failure related to heat and load.”

“Generally, on the third or fourth day of high temperatures equipment doesn’t have the opportunity to cool down and can cause equipment failures like what we saw tonight.”

The affected area stretched from York Street in the west to Bayview Avenue, and Carlton Street in the north to Queens Quay.

Crews managed fully restore power about eight hours later, by 3:30 a.m.

Police officers were called in from all divisions to direct traffic at affected intersections.