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Allumettes Mayor discusses weekend power outages

Allumettes Mayor discusses weekend power outages

6 February 2023 à 1:25 pm

Updated on 7 February 2023 à 3:21 pm

Following the extreme cold that hit the region on Friday and Saturday, a prolonged power outage affected the Upper Pontiac on Saturday and Sunday (February 4 and 5), including the municipalities of L’Isle-aux-Allumettes, Chichester, Sheenboro and Waltham.

CHIP 101.9 spoke with L’Isle-aux-Allumettes Mayor Corey Spence to discuss what area residents have been through over the past two days.

A major issue Spence highlighted was the vulnerability of the communications infrastructure in the region during an extended outage. He explained that since cell phone coverage in the region is notoriously spotty, many homes have landlines, which are powered by backup batteries in the event of a power outage. However, he said those backups only lasted about 6 hours and many people had no way to call emergency services once they went out. At the last MRC council of mayors meeting in January, Spence presciently warned (statement starts at 51:20) that those who had phone service through the newly installed fiber lines in their residences would be without 911 services in the event of a power failure.

Spence recalled that he had requested a meeting with representatives of Hydro-Québec, Evolugen (a private company that owns a generating station in the area) as well as with federal and provincial elected officials, but he did not know when it would take place.

Around noon on Monday February 6, the municipality posted a statement on the Facebook page asking residents to reduce their electricity consumption and said the Waltham plant was being repaired.

The full interview with Corey Spence is available here.