(Montreal) Hydro-Quebec still hopes to be able to restore power to 70 to 80% of its subscribers by Friday evening, but some customers may have to wait until the Easter weekend before finding heating and light.
The statistics finally fell below the 700,000 subscribers without power at the end of Thursday evening, but there were still nearly 678,000 customers without electricity around 8:15 a.m. Friday morning. At the height of the crisis, more than a million subscribers to the state-owned company were plunged into darkness.
In Montreal, more than 348,000 subscribers were still without power Friday morning. They were 98,000 in the same situation in Montérégie, 82,000 in Laval, 60,000 in the Laurentians and 53,000 in Outaouais.
During the day Thursday, more than 400,000 customers were therefore reconnected to the network by the approximately 1,100 people mobilized on the ground by Hydro-Québec, the state-owned company said late Thursday evening on its Twitter account.
After being suspended for the night, reconnection efforts resumed early Friday morning for another 16-hour day. According to Hydro-Québec, 1,300 people will be on the ground to continue the work.
Due to the scale of the crisis, Hydro-Québec is unable to estimate when each household will be reconnected. However, it hopes to restore “a second third” of affected customers by late Friday evening, and then continue work “over the weekend to reconnect all customers.”
“It’s very reasonable to think that by midnight on Friday, we should have recovered close to 80% of the people who were without electricity. Anyway, that’s what we’re dealing with,” Francis Labbé, a spokesperson for Hydro-Quebec, told La Presse Canadienne.
“If the mast is damaged, the correction must be made by a master electrician before our services are restored. It is very important that people make sure their mast is in good condition and not damaged so that we can restore the power,” explained Mr. Labbé.
Hydro-Québec plans to take stock around 11 a.m. on Friday morning on the state of the situation.
The Quebec Minister of Energy, Pierre Fitzgibbon, will notably be present at the press briefing. He will then travel to Laval in the afternoon to “meet the Laval residents affected” with the minister responsible for the region Christopher Skeete and mayor Stéphane Boyer.
Damage from Wednesday’s ice storm is concentrated in Montreal, as well as in Outaouais, Mauricie, Laval and the Laurentians.
Significant numbers of branches — and even entire trees — fell under the weight of the freezing rain in many places. On Thursday, a man in his 60s also died in Montérégie when he found himself trapped under a “big branch” on his land.
“I think there can’t be a better justification for telling Quebecers to be careful, whether it’s with tree branches or wires,” said Premier François Legault during a point of discussion. press, Thursday afternoon.
During this same meeting with the journalists, Mr. Legault also asked Quebecers affected by the blackouts to be patient with a view to restoring power, while indicating that the situation was not serious enough to decree the state of emergency or request the help of the army.
“It’s an emergency, we’re taking care of it,” explained the Prime Minister from the Hydro-Quebec network control center in Montreal.
“Since it’s concentrated in Greater Montreal and the Outaouais, we are even able to ask teams from other regions to come and help us,” he added.
There is therefore no question “for the moment” of having recourse to the help of the military. Earlier Thursday, the Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, on the ground in Montreal, had indicated that the army would be available if needed.
The City of Châteauguay, in Montérégie, however deployed emergency measures to come to the aid of its affected residents, since its citizens were without electricity by the thousands and hundreds of residences were struggling with sewer backups. .
In Montreal and elsewhere, temporary emergency accommodation centers were opened overnight from Thursday to Friday to allow people without electricity to warm up while waiting for the situation to recover.