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Hydro-Québec will be unable to restore power to the entire province by the end of Christmas Day, says president and chief executive Sophie Brochu, but a large number of customers who have been without electricity since Friday will have it for Christmas night.
At a press conference Sunday morning, she said that more than 100,000 customers across the province were still without power.
At the height of the storm which swept the province, starting Friday, nearly 550,000 Quebec customers were without power.
Brochu reiterated Hydro’s goal to restore power to clients who have been in the dark since Friday, but said that it would take “more time” to address more recent outages.
“Where there is a large number of power outages affecting five or 10 customers, it takes the same work to connect fewer customers and that’s what makes it take longer,” she explained.
Trees which have fallen on Hydro wires or poles make the work more complex.
Although the utility is doing all that it can to restore power, “there are people who will not have power restored before the beginning of the week,” Brochu said.
As of 1 p.m. Sunday, the utility said there were 2,345 power outages across the province affecting 112,870 customers following the winter storm which began to sweep through province on Friday.
On Saturday afternoon, Quebec premier François Legault tweeted that Hydro teams were doing “all that they could to reconnect as many homes as possible as quickly as possible.” He commended the efforts of the public security ministry and invited Quebecers to check in on loved ones who live alone.
He advised caution on the roads and tweeted also that, for those wishing to warm up, there were available to do so in several cities and municipalities.
As of 1 p.m. Sunday, the hardest hit area remained the Capitale-Nationale region, with 35,371 customers without electricity.
Other affected regions are Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean (16,312 customers), the North Shore (15,146 customers), the Laurentians (10,517 customers) and the Mauricie (8,943 customers). In the lower Saint-Lawrence there are 7,379 customers without power, 6,137 in the Montérégie and 4,859 in the Outaouais.
On Twitter, Hydro-Quebec said that it has more than 1,000 employees on the ground. Violent winds overnight on Saturday into Sunday complicated the work of the teams.
The utility said that due to the complexity of the logistics of the operation, it is unable to provide a precise time at which service will be restored to all its customers. Teams are being moved from region to region to ensure that those ares that are most affected have enough teams for the scope of the work needed.
Environment Canada published a blowing snow advisory for most of the area between Montreal and Quebec City, saying that road conditions could be dangerous because of reduced visibility in some places.
Transports Québec said that those travelling in electric vehicles between Quebec City and Saguenay would not have access to recharging stations for for an indeterminate period in the Laurentian wildlife reserve. Quebecers were advised to download the Québec 511 application to stay up to date on road and travel conditions.
Some Hydro-Québec customers will still be without power after Christmas
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