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Quebec Storm: Hydro Quebec meets goal, under 100,000 still without power
As of 9:30 p.m. on Sunday night the number of homes and businesses without power in Quebec had dropped beneath 100,000.
According to Hydro Quebec roughly 70,000 customers still hadn't had power restored as of 11:00 p.m. At the peak of the outage almost 1 million Hydro Quebec clients were without electricity but on Sunday the Crown Corporation’s CEO said service has been restored to 840,000 of them.
“We understand that 48 hours without electricity is a long time so we’ve been accelerating and I can assure you were are making all effort to bring electricity to every home in Quebec,” said Eric Martel.
The main regions still affected include Centre-du-Quebec with 17,500 still without power as well as 11,000 in Chaudiere-Appalaches, 10,000 in Monteregie, 10,000 in the Laurentians, 13,000 in Estrie, 6,000 in Mauricie and another 5,000 in the Quebec City region.
Martel said the goal is to have the number of clients without power down to under 100,000 by midnight.
“The work remaining is a lot more complex,” said Martel. “Very often it’s behind the homes so we don’t have access with our trucks, we have to bring special equipment.”
In a statement Hydro Quebec warned Quebecers in areas still without powers to not approach power lines and to avoid using outdoor equipment indoors, such as fuel-burning heaters, generators or portage stoves designed for outdoor use. They also warned Quebecers to make sure food stored in freezers that had turned off due to the outage to check for spoilage.
Cleanup in Saint-Lazare
Among the areas where crews were still working on Sunday was Saint-Lazare. Resident Carlos Ruiz said that without power, staying warm has been a challenge.
"It's been tough. We basically had to send our kids to some friends in Montrela so they could sleep well," he said.
Heavy rains on Friday also led to a threat of flooding.
"The issue is that you can't leave the house by itself," said Ruiz. "If anything goes wrong, the power generator stops for one hour, your basement gets completely flooded."
Hydro crews went through the forest behind people's homes to search for breakages and cut away fallen branches.
"You can see here what's typical of repairs left to do on the grid," said Hydro Quebec Distribution President Eric Filion. "There was a tree a bit earlier that was leaning against the cables, so we worked to safely take down the tree and now our linemen teams are rebuilding the grid."
Mayor Robert Grimaudo said roughly 3,000 homes were without power on Saturday, a number that was down to 900 on Sunday afternoon.
"Hydro Quebec is working really hard. I'm very impressed with the number of crews we have in the territory right now," he said.