Hydro outages continue to plague Upper Pontiac

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Allyson Beauregard

UPPER PONTIAC – With 70 power failures, the year 2015 broke a seven year outage record in the Upper Pontiac. The number

Allyson Beauregard

UPPER PONTIAC – With 70 power failures, the year 2015 broke a seven year outage record in the Upper Pontiac. The number
considerably surpasses the 54 outages witnessed in 2014. Dave Gillespie, a L’Isle-aux-Allumettes farmer and UPA board member, has been tracking the outages since 2009 using an Excel file. “The previous record was in 2013 with 60 outages. Despite all of the tree and branch clearing that was done in the summer and fall of 2015, we reached a record 70 outages,” he said.
There were a total of 939 minutes of outages in 2015
compared to 1411 in 2014. 
New to Gillespie’s data is a calculation of the
number of short outages (less than one minute) per year, expressed in both the total number and as a
percentage relative to the total number. “Contrary to what many people have thought – that the number of short outages increased – in 2015, the short outages actually decreased relative to the total number of
outages; this, from 63.0% in 2014 to 55.7% in 2015. That means we had an increase in longer outages in 2015,” explained Gillespie, who admitted that, at first glance, the number seems to contradict the decrease in the average length of the outages.
“The average number
of minutes per outage decreased from 26.1 in 2014 to 13.4 in 2015, which could appear as though there were more one-minute outages. However, in 2015 the longest outage was 100 minutes, whereas in 2014, there were some that were double and even triple that duration, so of course both the total number of minutes as well as the number of minutes per outage would be much higher in 2014,” he explained.
 Although in previous years there was a high
concentration of outages in June, July and August, this was not the case in 2015 which saw a more even
distribution from May until December. “This is despite all of the tree and branch clearing done during the summer and fall months,” added Gillespie, who
has said he believes the
problem is with Hydro’s distribution system.
Denis Dubeau, a Litchfield beef farmer and President of the Pontiac UPA, called a meeting with Hydro Quebec’s regional office in Hull which will take place January 15.
“I have been asked to attend to ensure my data is correctly interpreted,”
concluded Gillespie, who added the Upper Pontiac already started 2016 with an outage on January 3 and another on the 7th.