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Hydro-Québec planning to reduce number of power outages in 2024

Montreal, Quebec - The city of Montreal slowly heals and regains power after the recent ice storm wreaked havoc on its infrastructure. While significant progress has been made by Hydro-Québec in restoring electricity to residents, some areas might still experience outages over the weekend and into next week.

The February 25th storm inflicted widespread damage on power lines, leaving over 500,000 Hydro-Québec customers across the province in the dark. Montreal bore the brunt of the outages, with over half of the provincial total concentrated within its city limits.

"We've restored power to over 500,000 customers yesterday, and we hope to have only 300,000 remaining by the end of tonight," said Maxime Nadeau, Director of Control of the Energy System at Hydro-Québec, during a February 27th update.

He acknowledged the hardship faced by residents, particularly in Montreal, where many went without power for several days. "Over 1,400 personnel are diligently working in the field to restore power to everyone as soon as possible," Nadeau added, but warned that some customers might still face outages until Sunday or even Monday.

Areas in Montreal's east, west, and north were hit the hardest, with some residents experiencing extended power loss. This situation also impacted vital services such as hospitals, schools, and public transportation, leading to closures and disruptions. Tragically, the storm even claimed one life, a man in his sixties from the Montérégie region who attempted to remove a heavy branch from his property.

Hydro-Québec crews worked tirelessly throughout the week, battling harsh weather conditions and hazardous situations to restore power. As of March 2nd, the number of outages has significantly decreased, with the majority of customers having their electricity back. However, some areas, particularly those with significant infrastructure damage, might still experience intermittent outages.

"The situation is improving, but we are still working around the clock to restore power to everyone as quickly and safely as possible," stated Jean-Nicolas Alain, a spokesperson for Hydro-Québec. He encouraged residents to stay informed through the company's website and social media channels for updates specific to their areas.

The ice storm serves as a stark reminder of the vulnerability of power infrastructure to extreme weather events. In response, Hydro-Québec has announced a $130 million investment this year for pruning and removing trees posing a risk to the power grid. This initiative aims to clear vegetation equivalent to 22,000 km of power lines, targeting a 30% reduction in vegetation-related outages by 2028 and improving the grid's resilience to future weather events.

While the immediate focus remains on restoring power and ensuring the safety of residents, the long-term solution lies in building a more resilient and sustainable energy infrastructure. The combined efforts of Hydro-Québec crews and community members demonstrate Montreal's strength and resilience in the face of adversity as the city and surrounding areas gradually recover from the storm's impact.

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