The majority of homes without electricity will be reconnected by Wednesday evening
Hydro-Quebec expects the return of electricity by Wednesday evening for the majority of its customers. (Archives)
The majority of the 55,000 Hydro-Québec customers who are still without power should have power by the middle of the week, according to the state company. However, Hydro-Québec President and CEO Sophie Brochu is not giving any date for connecting the most difficult-to-access sectors.
Nearly 600,000 homes have experienced a power outage at some point since the storm began Thursday night, according to Hydro-Quebec. The vast majority of them have been reconnected.
The work will be more complicated for the remaining 55,000 households, according to Julie Sbeghen, senior director, operations and maintenance, for Centre-du-Québec at Hydro-Québec.
The latest outages are in places that are far away or that are in the back lot. It sometimes requires snowmobiles and snowshoes to access it. There are a lot of trees, a lot of big fir trees, that fell on the equipment, she said.
< p>“There are corners of our network that need to be completely rebuilt. »
— Sophie Brochu, CEO of Hydro-Quebec
About 1,200 Hydro-Quebec workers will be on the ground Monday and Tuesday to advance repairs.
Meanwhile, thousands of Quebecers spent Christmas in the dark and cold or found refuge with relatives or in emergency centres.
The village of Métis-sur-Mer, for example, has been completely without electricity for more than 60 hours. The power return date has already been postponed several times.
We will remember that Christmas! says Mayor Jean-Pierre Pelletier.
Questioned whether the last customers without electricity will be reconnected before the New Year, Ms. Brochu preferred not to bring forward a date.
You should know that there are still regions that we have not even seen yet […]. We hope that five days is enough to [reconnect the last customers], but until we have a visual, I cannot confirm, affirmed the CEO of Hydro-Quebec.
Bad weather continues to complicate Hydro-Quebec's repair activities on the North Shore, where the ice storm has brought three out of eight transmission lines. About ten helicopters are mobilized to spot and de-ice, but there are still snow showers in places, according to Environment Canada.
In an interview with Midi info, an expert pointed out that the resilience of the transmission network is the biggest challenge for any market that is powered by hydroelectricity.
Every energy source has its risks. In the case of electricity, it is the reliability of the network and its resilience. In a world where this network is challenged by more and more problematic weather events, well, the network must be planned accordingly, said Simon Langlois-Bertrand, research associate at the Institute. of Trottier energy.
According to Mr. Langlois-Bertrand, the state corporation can take certain actions to improve this resilience, such as burying transmission lines or replace certain materials.
The researcher added that Hydro-Quebec's new response plan provides for changes in new construction. We will see how quickly they [will be] able to do it, he said.
In her report tabled in early December, the Auditor General of Quebec, Guylaine Leclerc, had noted that a significant part of the preventive maintenance efforts that Hydro-Québec must carry out have not been accomplished and that the State corporation is not adequately equipped to face the growing challenge of aging assets.
Asked about this, Ms. Brochu argued that the current situation has nothing to do with the state of the electrical network [since] we were facing an extreme weather situation.
In terms of ensuring that no branch is likely to fall on electrical wires, Hydro-Quebec claims to check 17,000 km of wires per year on a network of 100,000 km in total .
We would like to do more, but there is a lack of manpower, said Ms. Brochu. She also recalled that in the case of the storm of the last few days, it is often entire trees that have fallen on the wires.
In any case, we will make a post -mortem [a report, Editor's note], she said, promising to prepare even better for such events which affect large parts of the province.
Saturday afternoon, the Premier of Quebec, François Legault, had underlined in a tweet the work of the teams of Hydro-Quebec, who are doing everything they can to reconnect the most households as quickly as possible. possible. He also praised the efforts of the Ministry of Public Security and invited Quebecers to hear from their loved ones who live alone.
Quebec City and its region are still the sectors most affected by outages, by far. More than 21,000 customers are still without electricity in the Capitale-Nationale region, more than double the second most affected region, Côte-Nord (9,460 customers without electricity).
The breakdowns also affect the Quebec incinerator, which forced the City to cancel the waste collections scheduled for today and Wednesday. The sector where the incinerator is located should be reconnected on Tuesday.
According to Julie Sbeghen, senior director, operations and maintenance, for Centre-du-Québec, several teams from other regions come to lend a hand to those of Quebec. The same process applies, however: places that are easier to access and have more customers without electricity will be given priority, while people in more isolated areas may still wait.
The strong mild spell that is emerging from Wednesday should facilitate the work of Hydro-Québec employees.
With information from The Canadian Press