Winter storms over the past few days have left over 80,000 Canadians without electricity through the Christmas weekend.
As of Monday afternoon, power was still out for over 55,000 Hydro-Québec customers, more than 24,000 Hydro One customers, and more than 1,100 clients of NB Power.
At the height of the storm, nearly 380,000 Quebec customers lost electricity.
The vast majority of clients will regain power by Wednesday night, CEO of Hydro-Québec Sophie Brochu said at a news conference Monday. There were about 2,000 power outages and, of those, 1,000 affect no more than five customers, according to Brochu.
“We are at that point where it’s like a surgery,” she said. “It’s working really hard to restore [power] to very few people. This is why it’s taking longer.”
Brochu said Hydro-Québec couldn’t provide a specific time for when power would be restored to all customers because of unforeseen trees and other objects blocking crews from accessing what are already difficult-to-reach areas in need of repairs.
“People can’t get there with the big trucks. They actually need to get there on Ski-Doos, on snowshoeing, bringing the equipment to restore power,” she said. “As we move forward … we will face more complex situations.”
“We might be working three, four, five hours for a team of two to restore five people,” she told reporters in a virtual press briefing Monday morning. “It’s worth it, don’t get me wrong, but it means that instead of working five, six, seven hours and restoring 1,000 people, every (segment) is really slow.”
New Brunswick Power said it was one of the largest provincewide outage events of the last 25 years, and it had more than 500 resource personnel working who had restored power to more than 99,000 customers as of Monday morning.
However, NB Power said it was confident there would be some customers still without power on Tuesday.
Hydro One said it had restored power to more than 412,000 customers since the extreme weather began, but persisting road closures were impacting its crews’ ability to access restricted areas.