More than 125,000 Hydro-Québec customers without power Monday, snowfall warnings in some parts of Quebec

By The Canadian Press & News Staff

More than 125,000 Quebec households were without power around 11:00 a.m. Monday, according to the Hydro-Québec website.

The two regions most affected by the blackouts were the Quebec City (62,250) and Eastern Townships (33,555) areas. Environment Canada had issued snowfall warnings for both of those regions. They were dropped around 10:00 a.m.

Across Quebec, 454 outages were recorded around 11:00 am. In Montreal nearly 4,000 customers were still in the dark.

Francis Labbé, a spokesperson for Hydro-Québec, explained that the regions most affected by outages were those where snowfall had been heaviest.

Heavy snow fell on vegetation, caused tree branches to break off and fall on power lines.

Labbé said that Hydro-Québec was hopeful that most outages would be restored during the day on Monday. He pointed out, however, that in the least populated areas, each restoration only has a handful of customers.

Early Monday, Hydro-Québec was taking stock of the resources available in regions that were only slightly affected by the blackouts, such as Montreal, the Outaouais and the Montérégie, so teams could travel to the more affected areas to help their colleagues.

Earlier this month, in presenting Hydro-Québec’s 2035 Action Plan, President and CEO Michael Sabia said that the utility planned to invest between $90 and $110 billion over the next 12 years to increase its generating capacity and enhance the capacity of its transmission system.

He added that between $45 and $50 billion should be used to ensure infrastructure reliability, which, according to the power supplier, would reduce the frequency of outages by 35 per cent over 7 to 10-years

To provide better service, Hydro-Québec plans to deploy new equipment on the distribution network, such as composite poles and conductor protectors, and adopt practices such as light undergrounding of power lines.

With files from The Canadian Press

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