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Pontiac representatives meeting with Hydro Quebec next week

Pontiac representatives meeting with Hydro Quebec next week

23 February 2023 à 2:13 pm

At the last MRC Pontiac council of mayors meeting on February 15, the council passed a resolution in support of the Municipality of L’Isle-aux-Allumettes (full text at the end of the article) regarding the lengthy power outages that hit the Upper Pontiac during a cold snap at the beginning of the month. The resolution calls for a formal plan from Hydro-Quebec to resolve the area’s long-standing issues with electrical service, improved communication with the community, possible compensation, as well as a public meeting for residents who were affected.

Mayor Corey Spence told CHIP 101.9 that he and Pontiac MNA André Fortin would be meeting with representatives from Hydro Quebec next week to discuss the plan forward. He said that he would discuss further details after the meeting took place.

He added that they would be having a town hall meeting with members of the public that were affected by the outage, where they would be able to ask questions. He said that he had invited representatives of both Hydro-Quebec and the Sûreté du Québec and had initially hoped to hold it in March, but said it might be later depending on scheduling.

The text of the resolution passed at the MRC meeting on February 15 is as follows:

Unofficial translation

WHEREAS there continues to be ongoing issues with the provision of adequate and reliable power services from Hydro Quebec to the residents of the Upper Pontiac (Sheenboro, Chichester, L’Isle-aux-Allumettes, Waltham and some of Mansfield-Pontefract);

WHEREAS most recently, there was a serious power outage on February 4-5th, 2023; which had some residents losing power for a period of more than 36 hours, in extreme cold temperatures;

WHEREAS the lack of hydroelectricity is directly associated with the outage of Bell Telephone and Internet services during this recent outage, which created a serious public safety issue, sometimes putting the lives of residents at risk;

WHEREAS the current distribution system has a lack of redundancy to be able to easily switch this area onto the Hydro Quebec grid, in the event of a serious equipment failure, leading to lengthy unnecessary outages;

WHEREAS the information and service restoration times that were being communicated with these residents was false and misleading;

WHEREAS there was a serious lack of communication between HQ and the Municipality with regards to the actual issues and the length of the outages, as well as the plans for restoration and the prioritization of areas/sectors to be restored;

WHEREAS given this inaccurate information, the Municipalities and their residents could not fully prepare for such a lengthy outage;

WHEREAS the Municipalities and their residents suffered undue expenses, loss and damages, due to the lack of service provided by HQ;

WHEREAS this outage is the only the latest in a series of lengthy outages over the past several decades;

WHEREAS the federal and provincial governments have prioritized the migration towards electrification of vehicles and heating systems in homes, through their various funding and grant programs;

WHEREAS this migration to electrical services puts more strain on the network, which is unable to supply the required power in peak demand periods;

WHEREAS resolution # 018-23/02 adopted by the municipality of L’Isle-Aux-Allumettes;

IT was moved by and RESOLVED that the regional council echoes the concerns of the municipality of L’Isle-Aux-Allumettes and supports their formal request to Hydro Quebec for the following:

  • A Formal Plan, with timelines, to improve their infrastructure and create redundancy for hydro services in the Upper Pontiac area (Sheenboro, Chichester, L’Isle-aux-Allumettes, Waltham and Mansfield-Pontefract);;
  • Improvements to communication with the Clients (residents) as well as with the Municipalities, before, during and after an event;
  • Compensation for the residents and Municipalities who may have suffered unnecessary expenses, loss or damages due to the outages;
  • A public meeting hosted by the Municipality of L’Isle-Aux-Allumettes, where HQ can respond to the three items requested above;

It was also resolved that this resolution be forwarded to the Minister of Economy, Innovation and Energy Mr. Pierre Fitzgibbon, to the Minister responsible for the Outaouais Mr. Mathieu Lacombe, to the Minister of Public Safety Mr. François Bonnardel, to the MNA for Pontiac Mr. André Fortin, as well as to the municipalities of the MRC Pontiac for support.