A record breaking year L’Isle-aux-Allumettes hydro outages

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Allyson Beauregard

L’ISLE-AUX-ALLUMETTES – With the onset of 2017, the municipality bid farewell to a record breaking year for hydro failures, totalling 75. The previous record was in 2015 with 70 outages, followed by 60 in 2013. Last year witnessed 4,030 minutes of outages, compared to 939 in 2015; 2013 holds the record with 6,629 minutes.

Allyson Beauregard

L’ISLE-AUX-ALLUMETTES – With the onset of 2017, the municipality bid farewell to a record breaking year for hydro failures, totalling 75. The previous record was in 2015 with 70 outages, followed by 60 in 2013. Last year witnessed 4,030 minutes of outages, compared to 939 in 2015; 2013 holds the record with 6,629 minutes.
Farmer and Pontiac UPA member David Gillespie has been tracking the outages on hydro line 221, which covers about 80% of the municipality, since 2009.
After a severe power failure in early June where there was a very high number of outages within a span of a few hours and a severe power surge that caused a lot of damage for residents and businesses, a Hydro Committee was formed and meetings with Hydro Quebec were held.
During a meeting on September 12, Hydro Quebec assured those in attendance that major work would be done within the following two months to address the problem. “That became quite apparent as many work crews dealt with infrastructure work such as replacing poles, adding new equipment, and heavy pruning of trees
and branches throughout the island right up until December,” said Gillespie, noting the work did result in significant improvements; there were no outages for line 221 in October and only one in December, a first for those months since recording began.
“It’s fairly safe to assume that had the work not been done, we would have finished
the year with well over 100 outages,” added Gillespie, who said the Hydro Committee may need to remain in place until the problem is resolved within “satisfactory limits”. 
In the past, Hydro responded to complaints about the outages with pruning and vegetation control, which Gillespie said was ineffective on its own.
Although there were seven outages recorded for line 221 in the first week of January, similar results were witnessed across the province after
a heavy fall of snow and high winds. “We will never get zero outage, simply due
to the weather. I am hopeful that 2017 will prove to be a much improved year and that Hydro Quebec will maintain the system on a constant basis and not
forget us until a crisis occurs again,” concluded Gillespie, who will provide an update on data collected halfway through the year.