April ice storm cost Hydro Quebec $14 million due to damage, overtime
MONTREAL – The ice storm that plunged hundreds of thousands of Hydro-Quebec customers into darkness in April cost the provincial utility about $14 million, according to data provided to The Canadian Press.
In comparison, Hydro-Quebec said previously that tornadoes that swept the Gatineau area in September prompted about $8.4 million in damage-related expenditures.
At the height of the outages, which occurred from April 8-12, some 316,000 residential customers in Montreal, Laval, the Laurentians and the Lanaudiere region lost power.
During peak periods, Hydro-Quebec had up to 1,000 employees in the field, alongside teams from Hydro-Sherbrooke and Vermont’s Green Mountain Power.
Workers – mainly line labourers – put in nearly 45,500 hours of overtime at a cost of about $3.6 million.
Hydro-Quebec says it’s making efforts to limit overtime, but the Crown corporation will likely see its bill continue to rise in 2019.
Last year, it paid nearly $165 million in additional hours, owing in part to the Gatineau tornadoes and a winter storm in the Iles-de-la-Madeleine.