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Bus crashes into electrical pylon, causing massive power outage on the South Shore


Tens of thousands of households on Montreal's South Shore have been without electricity since Saturday night after a bus crashed into an electrical pylon.

At the height of the outage, which started at about 10:30 p.m., approximately 90,000 Hydro-Quebec customers lost power. 

As of Sunday morning, more than 70,000 customers still had no electricity and power is not expected to be restored until 5 p.m., according to Hydro-Quebec. 

A map of the power outage on Montreal's South Shore on the morning of Sunday, July 7, 2024. (Source: Hydro-Quebec)

"A bus collided with a pylon containing two 315 kV lines, causing it to fall. The pylon is located at the corner of Chemin Chambly and Autoroute 30 on Montreal's South Shore," reads a statement on Hydro-Quebec's website.

"Other Hydro-Québec crews will be maneuvering to restore power to as many customers as possible via other lines. However, some customers will still be without power as a result of these operations. Crews will be at work for several hours."

Bus collided with vehicle, then hit hydro tower

Longueuil police said the bus was carrying volunteer firefighters from the Montérégie region when it collided with another vehicle, veered off the road, and then crashed into the hydro tower, causing the structure to collapse.

Power had to be cut for safety reasons and will remain offline for several hours.

A downed hydro tower near Highway 30 on Montreal's South Shore on Saturday, July 7, 2024, after a collision the night before. (Dave Touniou/CTV News)

Two people on board the bus were injured and were sent to hospital but police say their injuries are not life-threatening.

Police are investigating the collision. 

'Absolutely exceptional' power outage, spokesperson says

Hydro-Quebec spokesperson Jonathan Côté, told CTV News that people might be used to losing power when vehicles strike hydro poles on the street, but for an entire tower to be taken out by a non-natural disaster is a rare, "one-in-a-million" event.

"It's absolutely exceptional. I've never heard of anything like this before. The only other time I've seen examples of pylons collapsing is during the ice storm in '98," he said.

Crews are working to restore power as quickly as possible to customers on a gradual basis to prevent a surge. Likewise, Côté said households should turn on power-hungry appliances gradually once they do get their power back.

"When the power comes back to not just rush and turn everything on at the same time and put the A/C at maximum in all of the rooms. It would help if people just gradually started using power again, it really helps us [to] balance the grid after a long outage like this one," Côté said. Top Stories

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