May’s “derecho” cost Hydro-Québec at least $70 million

The storm that devastated Quebec and Ontario last May cost Hydro-Quebec at least $70 million, which had to deploy nearly 2,000 people on the ground for nearly two weeks to repair the damage.

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The gale, called a “derecho” by Environment Canada, had generated gusts reaching up to 150 km/h which had heavily damaged power lines, in addition to causing the deaths of 11 people, mostly in Ontario.

“More than 550,000 customers lost power at the height of the storm, and infrastructure suffered significant damage. This is one of the events that required the most work on the ground since the 1998 ice storm,” said Hydro-Québec on Tuesday, recalling that the Laurentians, Lanaudière, Mauricie and the Capitale-Nationale were particularly affected.

In total, the technicians had to repair 11,254 breakdowns across the province, which required more than 160,000 hours of work on the part of more than 2,000 linemen. No less than 1125 poles and 400 transformers had to be replaced.

This work therefore cost Hydro-Québec approximately $70 million, a provisional amount which could turn out to be even higher, underlined the state corporation.

  • Cost of work: approximately $70 million (the figure could be higher)
  • 11,254 failures in total
  • 554,649 customers reached on May 21 at 8 p.m., mainly in Outaouais, the Laurentians and Lanaudière
  • 85% of clients recovered 72 hours after the peak of the event
  • 95% of clients recovered 125 hours after the peak of the event, i.e. midnight May 27
  • 160,000 hours worked by our line workers
  • More than 2,000 employees on the job for 11 days
  • 90% of breakages causing breakdowns were related to vegetation
  • 1125 poles replaced
  • More than 400 transformers replaced
  • 40 km of electrical wires installed

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