Thousands across eastern Canada still in the dark

Toronto Hydro employees work to restore power in the Scarborough suburb following an ice storm in...

Toronto Hydro employees work to restore power in the Scarborough suburb following an ice storm in Toronto, December 27, 2013. REUTERS/Mark Blinch

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:50 PM ET

Thousands of residents in parts of eastern Canada shivered through their sixth day without heat or electricity Friday -- and it could be days more before the power is back on.

Frustration mounted for businesses and homes in southern Ontario, Quebec and parts of the Maritimes waiting for their power to be restored almost a week after freezing rain and ice downed trees and power lines.

And the outlook isn't good as hydro crews face more challenges brought on by Mother Nature.

Toronto Hydro said late Friday some 25,000 customers remained without power, and high winds and melting snow expected over the weekend could further hamper efforts or even cause new damage to the system.

"This city cannot treat its people like this," angry resident David Rampersad said Friday.

Rampersad, whose home plunged into freezing temperatures over a four-day period without electricity, went from full hotel to full hotel trying to find a room for his 18-year-old son who was recovering from a bout of viral gastroenteritis.

Meanwhile, Rampersad stayed in his frigid house to care for two dogs, and to help a 90-year-old neighbour who also remained in his home.

While Premier Kathleen Wynne and Toronto Mayor Rob Ford have held media conferences nearby, Rampersad said he's upset that no official of any kind is checking up on people like his elderly neighbour, who lives alone.

"That guy could have died inside that house... He could lie down and freeze to death and we wouldn't even know it," Rampersad said.

Wynne, like Ford, has been touring the damage.

Wynne does not communicate with Ford, who was stripped of most of his powers by city council, but rather is in constant contract with deputy mayor Norm Kelly.

Kelly found himself in hot water Thursday after returning from an overnight trip to Florida to see family down south. He apologized to Torontonians for leaving the country during the storm crisis but said he did receive official updates and spoke to Wynne over the phone during that time.

Toronto Hydro CEO Anthony Haines promised on Friday that crews will not stop "until the lights are on for everyone."

Restoration won't be much easier in New Brunswick, where late Friday about 13,000 were still dealing with outages just as another winter storm that could bring snow and even more freezing rain targets the province.

Another 2,400 people in Quebec remained without power.

The stormy weather is also being blamed for a fuel shortage around parts of the country, especially in northwestern Ontario, where some companies say it has disrupted the travel of supply trucks -- some coming from parts of the U.S.

While residents without power try to stay warm, authorities continue to warn people not to use generators or barbecues inside. There have been reports of five people killed in Ontario and Quebec from carbon monoxide poisoning and several more have been taken to hospital for treatment.

--With files from Antonella Artuso and Doug Hempstead


Videos

Photos