(Montreal) If the trend continues, Hydro-Québec will be able to restore power to 95% of its customers plunged into darkness since Wednesday’s ice storm by Sunday evening as promised, even if some Quebecers will have to resign to wait any longer.
After the day on Monday, “almost all” of the homes will have regained electricity, said Régis Tellier, vice-president of operations and maintenance for Hydro-Québec, during a press conference Sunday at the end of the pre- noon, in Montreal. According to him, priority customers such as private residences for seniors and CHSLDs have all been restored.
If he cannot guarantee that everyone will have power again on Monday, it is because it is not always possible to estimate the extent of the damage before seeing it. “When you get to the field, that’s when you can see the complexity,” he says, citing cases where four or five branches have fallen in one place and need to be removed. “Sometimes it can take two or three teams. »
While Thursday and Friday, 400,000 customers were reconnected to the network, the pace slowed on Saturday, with just under 200,000 customers reconnected.
Some subscribers will however have to wait until Tuesday due to complex cases to be resolved, said the director of energy system control at Hydro-Québec, Maxime Nadeau.
By 2:45 p.m. Sunday, just over 89,000 state-owned utility customers were still without power, meaning that approximately 92% of the 1.1 million homes that had lost access to heating and light this week had already been reconnected.
The Montreal region remained the most affected. It had more than 61,000 customers without power, but the situation had improved significantly from the previous day. Saturday morning, the report showed nearly 190,000 customers without heating or electricity in Montreal.
The other regions still affected by outages are Outaouais (about 12,000), Montérégie (about 10,000) and Laval (about 5,000).
It should be noted that the number of customers represents the quantity of dwellings or businesses, and not the number of people.
Mr. Tellier warned that the pace of recovery was expected to slow on Sunday, as the remaining outages each affect fewer customers. “We keep the same pace, he says, but when we fall into the secondary sections, it’s the same effort, but few customers. »
In all, he explains, 1,500 workers are in the field, and 40% of them work in Montreal.
He also recalled the importance of not approaching damaged electrical wires or trying to make repairs yourself, as this can pose a real danger of electrocution.
Urgences-santé has intervened with 115 Montrealers and 38 Laval residents for carbon monoxide poisoning since the start of the crisis, said spokesperson Julie Gaulin. Of this number, 116 people were transported to a hospital, but none died.
On the other hand, the death of a 75-year-old man was found at Saint-Eustache hospital. He had been found unconscious in his residence in Saint-Joseph-Du-Lac, when there was “a generator that worked in the garage”, indicated Jean-Philippe Labbé, inspector of investigations at the Régie de police du Lac. of Two Mountains. Firefighters estimated that there was “twenty times more” carbon dioxide in the air than the norm, he said.
Poisoning occurs when you operate a fuel-burning device designed for the outdoors, such as a barbecue or certain heaters, inside your home. The device then produces carbon monoxide, which is stored in the air.
This toxic gas is invisible and smells nothing. It can cause headaches, dizziness, fatigue, visual disturbances, nausea, vomiting, unconsciousness or even death.
Asked about the possibility of Hydro-Québec offering some form of compensation to customers affected by outages, Energy System Control Director Maxime Nadeau indicated that “most of the time, this is something we let’s look after the event […] I can’t answer that question right now”.
Telephony providers such as Bell, Telus, Fizz and Videotron have announced in the last few days that they will not charge customers who have exceeded their mobile data plan, under various conditions.
In order to offer respite to people who regained power on Saturday evening, and to those who will be reconnected in the coming hours, the government has announced that food markets will be able to remain open in these regions on Sunday, despite Easter Day. . This will also be the case in Lanaudière, where the number of breakdowns was high on Saturday.
In the meantime, the government recalled on Saturday that more than 100 emergency centers have opened their doors in the most affected regions, in order to allow people for whom the blackout is prolonged to go to warm up, eat and recharge their batteries. electronic appliances.