Some Quebecers will not regain power until this weekend, says Hydro-Québec

Hydro-Québec says crews are continuing to work on restoring power to more than 80,000 customers in the province and that it could take until this weekend to get everyone back on the grid.

Thousands of residents have been left in the dark since Saturday after a raging spring storm swept through large areas of the province, knocking down trees and power lines.

The hardest hit region is the Laurentians, where about 50,000 customers are still without electricity. As of Wednesday afternoon, about 18,000 customers in the Lanaudière were out of power and more than 15,000 in the Outaouais.

At a news conference Wednesday in Morin-Heights, a small, hard-hit town in Laurentians, Hydro-Québec president and CEO Sophie Brochu said crews are working “as quickly as possible” to restore power to all households.

“We will not leave until everyone is reconnected,” she told reporters.

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Sophie Brochu says more crews are expected to be deployed to remote areas to help restore power to affected households, with the aim of being “really far away” in the process since Saturday.

Brochu said the public utility has about 700 crews – or 1,400 people – working around the clock, including crews of private contractors, areas that were not affected by the outages and even some from New Brunswick.

Régis Tellier, vice president of operations and maintenance at Hydro-Québec, said he hopes to have 50,000 customers reconnected by the end of the day, “but we can’t expect to reconnect all customers by Friday, maybe even beyond.”

Residents were kept in the dark, says a mayor

Morin-Heights was hit by Saturday’s storm. Trees were seen falling over cars and on rooftops, and high-voltage power lines on the streets.

Mayor Tim Watchorn said on Wednesday, 75 percent of residents are still without power. And while the public utility encourages patience, he said people in the community are starting to feel frustrated.

“[Hydro-Québec] can’t give us a timeline from now on, “he said.” People are hard not to know. “

Mayor Tim Watchorn says 75 percent of Morin-Heights residents are still without power. (Marika Wheeler / CBC)

Because many residents rely on wells, even showering and using the bathroom is impossible for some. Without the internet, phones or ovens, many feel left out of the world.

“It’s hard not to know what’s going on and when you’re going to regain your power,” Watchorn said.

Chalet Bellevue, the local community house, has been transformed into an emergency shelter since the weekend storm. A generator was connected allowing people to charge their phones, cook, get water and shower.

On Wednesday, Patricia Clark was at the community center trying to download books to read on her iPad. She was grateful to finally be plugged back because she hadn’t had power in her home since Saturday afternoon.

“It was very painful to throw everything out in the fridge and freezer … but Morin-Heights was great nonetheless, they give you, you know, everything.”

Fallen trees, land causing delays

Hydro-Québec says the size of the affected area is a key reason for the delays in turning on the light.

The violent storm hit part of a territory 300 kilometers long by 100 kilometers wide, according to Brochu, ranging from Outaouais to Quebec.

She said half a million customers lost power within three to four hours and more than 554,000 customers were without electricity at the peak of the event.

“It was crazy,” she said. “Since then ice stormthat’s almost the biggest event we’ve seen. ”

Brochu said the complex nature of the work to be done in some regions could also present risks and create complications, causing further delays.

About 700 Hydro-Québec crews, or 1,400 people, are working to restore power across the province.

She said crews must remove power lines that have fallen to the ground under the weight of uprooted trees, replace hundreds of poles and navigate difficult terrain that sometimes prevents work trucks from reaching the affected areas, she said.

Brochu said repairs in remote locations only restore service to a small number of customers at a time, so the plateau in the number of customers regaining power.

“We know you’re there, we’ll work as hard and fast as possible,” she assured residents.

As of Wednesday afternoon, more than 470,000 customers had their power restored. Power is turned on for all households in the regions of Mauritius, Quebec and Montreal.

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