(Montreal) Hydro-Quebec maintains its goal of reconnecting 800,000 customers by the end of the day, but 300,000 customers could remain in the cold and the dark for the weekend.

Two days after the ice storm, 500,000 customers had power restored, but there were still about 516,000 customers without power by 2:30 p.m. Friday. At the height of the crisis, more than a million subscribers to the state-owned company were plunged into darkness.

In Montreal, more than 279,000 subscribers were still without power on Friday afternoon. They were 67,000 in the same situation in Montérégie, 57,000 in Laval, 34,000 in the Laurentians and 41,000 in Outaouais.

Hydro-Québec is confident that it will be able to reconnect 800,000 customers by the end of the day, the Crown corporation announced at a press briefing on Friday.

Unfortunately, some customers will not have power until Sunday, maybe even Monday, warned the vice-president, operations and maintenance Régis Tellier.

A total of 1,400 fitters are deployed in the field to continue the reconnection operation. The gusts blowing over the province on Friday could, however, complicate their work and cause further blackouts, he added.

A man lost his life in Saint-Eustache after using a barbecue inside his residence. In Montreal, more than 60 people have been assessed for carbon monoxide poisoning.

Heating or cooking appliances, such as a barbecue, should never be used indoors. “You really, really shouldn’t use this kind of equipment in the home. It can cause very serious health problems,” warns Simon Bilodeau, head of emergency measures at the Montreal Regional Public Health Department.

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, said the state company late Thursday evening on its Twitter account.

After being suspended for the night, reconnection efforts resumed early Friday morning for another 16-hour day.

Due to the scale of the crisis and the gusts, Hydro-Québec is not able to estimate when each household will be reconnected.

Quebec’s energy network is reliable, assured the Minister of Economy, Innovation and Energy, Pierre Fitzgibbon, in a press briefing. It is the vegetation that is mainly to blame, not the network as such, he added.

“Hydro-Québec has doubled its investment in vegetation control. That’s the big deal: 40% of failures come from this,” Mr. Fitzgibbon argued.

Prime Minister François Legault will be on the ground with municipal and Hydro-Québec authorities in the early afternoon in Les Coteaux, Montérégie.

Quebec Energy Minister Pierre Fitzgibbon has planned to travel to Laval in the afternoon to “meet affected Laval residents” along with the minister responsible for the region Christopher Skeete and Mayor Stéphane Boyer.

An update on the situation in Laval is also scheduled for 2 p.m.

On Twitter, however, netizens have grown impatient, calling out to the state-owned company to find out when they will be reconnected. Known for their sometimes amusing formulas, the moderators of the Hydro-Québec account adopted a more solemn tone in the circumstances.

“We’re sorry if you’re still down. We are not forgetting anyone and the magnitude of the task is currently considerable. We are mobilizing all available and necessary resources to restore service,” the state-owned company said.