With snow on the horizon, power restored to nearly all homes
Published Wednesday, December 26, 2012 9:14AM EST
Last Updated Wednesday, December 26, 2012 8:47PM EST
MONTREAL—Hydro-Quebec hopes to be able to restore full power by Thursday to customers who lost electricity after a powerful storm last week.
The lights went out for about 130,000-customers in the Laurentians, Lanaudiere and Outaouais region of western Quebec when a storm dumped about 60 centimetres of snow in some areas on Friday.
By Wednesday evening, only 3,000 customers were still without power, but crews were working hard to get the lights back on. More than 800 Hydro Quebec employees were working on Christmas Day to restore service.
Lawerence Levin was without power for five days, during that time temperatures inside his house were as low as minus 15 degrees Celsius. Levin estimated that between his trees, burst water pipes, and frost-bitten tropical plants—he's looking at $2,000 worth of damage.
“I had to shut the hot water from the house because when I turn it on, there were floods in the kitchen area,” said Levin. “I'm upset, I would have hoped they would have gotten there sooner.”
A spokeswoman for the utility said the weight of the snow caused broken tree branches to snap power lines in over 3,500 places. The work also took longer than expected because many utility poles need to be replaced in isolated areas, where crews used snowmobiles and snowshoes to travel.
The final date for reconnecting everyone’s power was pushed back several times over the six days clients were in the dark, from Christmas Eve to the day following Boxing Day.
Levin said this power outage was worse than living through the 1998 Ice Storm. With more snow in the forecast, many in Quebec’s hardest hit regions are hoping their lights stay on.
—With files from The Canadian Press.