Thousands of Quebecers still without power after winter storm


A powerful winter storm that hit southern Quebec on Friday, December 24, 2023, caused widespread power outages that affected more than 350,000 Hydro-Québec customers. The storm brought heavy snow, strong winds, and freezing rain that damaged power lines and poles, uprooted trees, and disrupted travel plans.

Hydro-Québec, the public utility that provides electricity to most of the province, said that restoring power to all customers was a complex and challenging task, especially in remote and hard-to-access areas. The utility had about 1,300 workers on the ground and assistance from private companies and crews from other regions, including New Brunswick and Maine.


Hydro-Québec aims to reconnect most customers by Wednesday

On Tuesday, December 28, 2023, Hydro-Québec CEO Sophie Brochu said the utility was working hard to reconnect most of the remaining customers by Wednesday, December 29, 2023. However, she could not guarantee that everyone would regain power by New Year’s Eve.

“We are working hard to get to the last customers,” she said. “Today and tomorrow will be long.”

As of 5 p.m. on Tuesday, about 25,000 customers were still without electricity, mainly in the Quebec City, Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean, and Côte-Nord regions. Brochu said that the majority of the remaining outages affected a small number of people at a time, which made the restoration process slower and more difficult.

“It’s like a surgery, we still have at least 2,000 outages,” she said.

Hydro-Québec advises customers to stay safe and seek help if needed

Brochu also urged customers to stay safe and to contact municipal authorities if they needed help. She warned customers not to attempt to fix the outages themselves or to touch any wires on the ground, as they could be dangerous.

“Refrain yourself from doing the work, refrain yourself from touching wires on the ground,” she said.

Hydro-Québec also advised customers to unplug their appliances and lower their home’s temperature to prepare for the power restoration. The utility said that its teams would remain on the ground until every single customer’s service was brought back.

Quebec Premier François Legault thanked the Hydro-Québec workers, the first responders, and the municipal authorities for their work during the Christmas holiday. He also expressed his solidarity and sympathy with the customers who were still in the dark.

“I can imagine the frustration,” he wrote on Twitter. “Hydro-Québec teams are doing everything possible to reconnect everyone by Wednesday. Some interruptions are in more isolated places and require more time.”

Winter storm affects travel plans and train services

The winter storm also had a significant impact on travel plans and train services in the province. Many flights were delayed or canceled at the Montreal-Trudeau International Airport and the Quebec City Jean Lesage International Airport. Some roads were closed or slippery due to the snow and ice accumulation.

Via Rail, the national passenger rail service, canceled all trains on its Toronto-Ottawa and Toronto-Montreal routes on Christmas Day and Boxing Day, due to the complications caused by the storm. The service also announced that it would run all trains on a modified schedule on Tuesday, December 28, 2023, after the tracks where a CN train derailed on Christmas Eve were reopened.

By Kane Wilson

Kane Wilson, founder of this news website, is a seasoned news editor renowned for his analytical skills and meticulous approach to storytelling. His journey in journalism began as a local reporter, and he quickly climbed the ranks due to his talent for unearthing compelling stories. Kane completed his Master’s degree in Media Studies from Northwestern University and spent several years in broadcast journalism prior to co-founding this platform. His dedication to delivering unbiased news and ability to present complex issues in an easily digestible format make him an influential voice in the industry.

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