January 29, 2023

La Ronge Northerner

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Bad weather left more than 350,000 Hydro-Québec customers without power

Thousands of Quebecers may spend New Year’s Eve and Dec. 25 without power, while 1,100 Hydro-Québec employees will work almost tirelessly to restore power and bring the magic of Christmas back to the province’s cottages.

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“It’s clear that not everyone will have electricity at Christmas,” said Annie Beaudoin, communications consultant for Hydro-Québec, on Friday evening.

At least 354,610 customers were without power as of 10 p.m. Friday.

Capitale-Nationale, Montérégie and Montreal were the hardest hit, while Chaudière-Appalaches, Centre-du-Québec and Estrie saw hundreds of new blackouts.

“What we’re aiming for right now is to get most of our customers back on Sunday evening, Christmas Eve,” reiterated Eric Fillion, executive vice president of the state-owned company.

Celebrate with candles

Thousands of Quebecers will still light candles for the first Christmas since the pandemic.

Elena Perron, her mother, Lisa, and her uncle, Yvonne, were without power when they arrived at the family cottage near Lake Massawippe in East Township, where they were going to spend New Year's Eve with family.

Photo courtesy of Elena Peron

Elena Perron, her mother, Lisa, and her uncle, Yvonne, were without power when they arrived at the family cottage near Lake Massawippe in East Township, where they were going to spend New Year’s Eve with family.

Elena Perron’s family was reluctant to drive to her cottage near Lake Massavippi in East Township because of road conditions. Finally, the trip from Montreal went well, but when he arrived, the chalet was plunged into darkness.

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The young woman hopes to have electricity restored for a slow cooker meal planned for New Year’s Eve, which will be attended by many family members from the region, but also from the United States.

“We have candles, ready to eat and board games tonight, but tomorrow [samedi]We don’t really have a plan B,” says Elena Peron.

In Saint-Benoît-Labre in Beauce, much of the village was left without electricity.

“Not a single gas station had a generator,” says Marie-Christine Roy, who had to wait an hour and a half for her husband to bring cans of gasoline from a neighboring village before leaving for a wedding in Beauseville.

When we arrived at the hostel, there was no electricity.

Shops were closed

Due to the darkness, many businesses, such as Barry’s Restaurant in Bedford in the Eastern Townships, moved up their closing hours by a day.

“We couldn’t run the fans, it was dark, so we decided to close,” said canteen owner Stephanie Barry.

Hardware stores, medical clinics and car dealerships in affected areas have announced closures.

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