Upper Pontiac hydro outages halved, but “major improvements” still needed

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Power Lines at Sunset

Allyson Beauregard

L’ISLE-AUX-ALLUMETTES – With 47 hydro outages lasting a total of 1,618 minutes in L’Isle-aux-Allumettes in 2020, the year was drastically better than 2019 where the number was more than double at 103. In fact, 2019 was a
record-breaking year, far exceeding the decade’s top contender, 2016, which experienced 75.
David Gillespie, a L’Isle-aux-Allumettes farmer, has been tracking the outages since 2009 (35 failures). “They progressively got worse from 2009 onward until about four years ago when Hydro did a lot of brushing work. It got better after that for a while, but then started to get worse again,” he explained.
“This year was better, which is great, but is it normal? No. Should we have 47 outages a year? No! It’s an improvement, but major improvements are still needed. Montreal gets 3 to 4 outages per year and the regions north of there get excited if
they have one a month,” continued Gillespie, noting he would consider one
outage a month acceptable.
Last year, Gillespie began combining all of his data to calculate global averages to compare results. According to the 12-year average, there were 57 outages, 2,395 minutes of failures, an average of 42 minutes per failure, and 30.5 outages less than one minute. For 2020, the number of minutes per failure was less at 34.4 minutes, as was the number of outages less than a minute at 23 (compared to the 60 experienced in 2019).
What stood out to Gillespie in 2020 was the number of outages during the night. “There were only four between 9 pm and 7 am (8%), when this timeframe usually
represents about a third of the total,” he told the Journal.
Other than 2019, the most outages were recorded in 2015 (70) and 2016 (75), with 63 in 2018.
The best years were 2009-2012 which experienced 35, 34, 46 and 42 outages respectively.