More than 17,000 Hydro-Québec customers in the Laurentians region remained without power Monday morning, December 13, after high winds ripped through the province early Sunday morning.

Thanks to hundreds of workers in the field on Sunday and overnight, as of Monday morning, Hydro-Québec had restored service to about 330,000 customers, or 80 per cent of those affected. At the height of the event, on Sunday at 4 a.m., about 400,000 customers throughout Québec were without power due to strong winds, including gusts of over 100 km/h. At 5 a.m. on Monday, that number fell below 70,000.

The main regions affected are the following:

Outaouais : 21 000 customers
Laurentides : 17 000 customers
Montérégie : 13 000 customers

On Monday, approximately 600 linemen continue to work. Crews from Eastern Quebec, less affected by the winds, are already at work in the most affected areas. Crews from New Brunswick have also been mobilized.

In a news release, Hydro-Québec thanked Quebecers for their patience and understanding.

Work in the field remains challenging. There are still more than 1,600 sites where work must be carried out. Certain sites are located in remote areas, and repairs, which can be lengthy, may only restore service to a small number of customers.

Important safety information

For public safety, it is crucial that people not approach power lines. Professionals are in the field right now to restore service.

Motorists are asked to exercise caution near Hydro-Québec worksites. There have been reports of vehicles driving very quickly in close proximity to the company’s employees as they work.

Customers must absolutely not use outdoor equipment and devices indoors. Fuel-burning heaters, lights, generators or portable stoves designed for outdoor use can cause asphyxiation or poisoning if used inside.

Hydro-Québec is also advising utmost vigilance with regard to food poisoning. Most home insurance includes coverage for food stored in the freezer.