Duration : 2 minutes 58 seconds
Losing power is never fun, but rest assured that when outages occur, Hydro-Québec crews do their utmost to restore service as quickly as possible.
In summer and winter alike, Hydro-Québec’s electric power distribution system is put to the test. Although our equipment is robust and can withstand most adverse weather conditions, vegetation located near the power distribution system is a little more vulnerable to the whims of Mother Nature.
When there are strong winds or violent storms, a tree or branch that falls onto system elements can cause a power outage that sometimes affects many customers.
Since the most violent storms occur between June and August, it’s not surprising that most power outages happen during the summer. In winter, heavy snow often bends branches or trees to the point that they fall onto power lines, causing outages.
Call 911 when you feel the situation threatens public security or someone’s personal safety. The appropriate authorities and Hydro-Québec will be notified at the same time and assistance will be dispatched.
These are the most frequent situations in which it is best to call 911:
NEVER APPROACH A POWER LINE — ALWAYS ASSUME IT’S LIVE. IT’S A MATTER OF LIFE AND DEATH!
Call customer services when you notice our equipment appears to be hazardous or damaged.
To reach us:
Weekdays from 8 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Weekends from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The information you provide is important. It lets us fix problems—say, a pole that looks like it’s about to fall down.
You can also call us to prevent a problem if, for example, you notice tree branches touching power lines.
Your area may not be slated for maintenance or field inspections soon, so that is why it’s important to let us know.
No. When you call 1 800 790-2424 and give your service address, if the outage has already been reported, the system will tell you when you can expect your service to be restored.
You will be given the option of speaking to a representative if you want to provide additional information.
If a situation poses a threat to personal safety or public security (such as a pole fire or lines down), call 911 right away.
Never touch or try to move a power line, even with a stick or other object. Keep at least ten metres away from the power line and call 911.
Always assume that the lines are live and always stay at least ten metres away. If you see that a line is down, call 911 right away.
No, under no circumstances. Only people accredited by Hydro-Québec are authorized to carry out work on the Hydro-Québec system or on your meter.
Each year, Hydro-Québec invests in projects with a view to preventing outages and reducing their duration.
We have an ongoing program of preventive tree pruning above and near power lines.
Each year, in an effort to reduce the duration of certain types of outages, we install automated equipment on the distribution system to allow us to perform operations remotely and avoid the need to dispatch a crew.
In addition, with next-generation meters, Hydro-Québec is automatically informed of outages, so customers don’t need to report them.
In recent years, we have significantly reinforced the power system to make it less sensitive to weather conditions.
We have a rigorous line and equipment inspection and maintenance program designed to ensure the system is reliable throughout the year.
Surge arresters on the power system limit lightning damage.
Special equipment guards against animals and birds that are likely to cause outages.
The best thing you can do is be careful near electrical equipment.
The most frequent cause of power outages is vegetation touching power lines. When you plant a tree, be sure to maintain the recommended minimum clearance from power lines to prevent outages and potential nuisances.
Contact us if you notice vegetation growing too close to power lines.
If you need to dig, call Info-Excavation, at 1 800 663-9228. You’ll avoid damaging electricity, gas and telecommunications lines.
Never let anything or anyone get within three metres of a power line when you are doing work outside the house (pool maintenance, scaffolding, tree pruning, decoration, etc.).
A power outage is unplanned. A planned service interruption is intentionally scheduled for a set period of time to ensure both worker and public safety and to enable system maintenance or respond to a specific customer need (renovation, building construction, maintenance, etc.).
In order to keep service interruptions as short as possible, Hydro-Québec plans all work very carefully. Whenever possible, we use live-line methods to avoid inconveniencing customers.
Customers are notified in advance of such interruptions so they can make the necessary arrangements. We use an automated telephone system. If we can’t reach you on the first call, we’ll call back several times. If you have voice mail, we’ll leave a message with the date, time and duration of the interruption.
Bad weather is the most frequent cause of power outages. Storms, snow, freezing rain and winds are some of the main causes.
Violent summer storms sometimes come up quickly and unexpectedly. They can seriously damage the power system and even cause outages.
Occasionally, outages may be caused by animals in contact with our installations, car accidents that damage our equipment, and other factors, often resulting from human activities.
Today, the effects of climate change are being felt more often and more intensely. They are among the causes of power outages on our system.
For the vast majority of our customers with a next-generation meter, Hydro-Québec is informed automatically when you have a power outage. If the outage has already been reported, an automated message will inform you of the time at which service is expected to be restored (when the information is available).
A crew sometimes has to wait for instructions from the operating centre before it is safe for them to start work. Or sometimes its work has to be coordinated with that of other crews.
The crew may have had to check or repair equipment farther up or down the line, or it may have been called to an emergency, such as downed lines.
The automated system usually calculates service restoration time based on an average time.
In the case of a major weather event, service restoration estimates change as crews provide more information about damage from the field.
There are a number of possible explanations.
The system may have been overloaded because many appliances were left on during the outage. Even if repairs have been completed, it’s possible that an equipment outage somewhere else has led to a loss of power on your line. It’s also possible that a repaired line segment needed to be de-energized so another section of the line could be repaired safely.
No. You should contact a private supplier or, in an emergency, your municipality. Hydro-Québec may occasionally use industrial generators for the needs of the power system to speed up service restoration.
No. But since you don’t use any electricity during an outage, no consumption will be charged for that period.