News - Most Recent At the Top


Sunday, February 2, 1998 3:00 AM

I've been a bit negligent the last few days about making updates to the site. As life has been getting back to normal here, I've been trying to play catch-up with my own business.  I'll be continuing to make relevant updates to the site as they become available.

  • Today's Montreal Gazette had an article by George Kalogerakis (unfortunately, it was not published on their web site) titled "Fear of more blackouts keeps agency busy - But experts scoff at Farmer's Almanac prediction that more ice storms are coming." In the article, Kalogerakis mentioned that, "Civil-protection officials are preparing for more blackouts this winter in case Hydro Quebec's weakened power system can't survive another storm."  Among the preparations: 230 towns have sufficient wood supplies for 3 days, wood cutting continues to ensure additional supplies, almost 1,2000 generators are being left on site at crucial areas,  and 200 shelters can be reopened within 24 hours. Both meteorologists from Environment Canada and Civil protection officials have states that there is no reason to be confident about the Farmer's Alamac's predictions for another storm this winter.

Saturday, February 3, 1998

  • Today's Statistics: 65,000 people are still without power; there are still 53 shelters in operation where 1,700 are staying each night. Hydro Quebec expects all power to be restored by February 12th.

Thursday, January 29th, 1998 6:00 AM

  • The cold front of the past week has finally left us - at least temporarily.
  • Hydro Quebec has reported that it's new project will take longer and cost more than originally anticipated.  Instead of the initial forecast of $650 million and 1999 target date, it is now expected to cost as much as $815 million and take at least 3 years.
  • For the first time in over three weeks, the number of customers without power in Quebec is expected to drop below the 50,000 mark. Yesterday, Hydro reported that 50,114 customers were without power, or approximately 120,000 people.

Wednesday, January 28th, 1998 6:00 AM

  • A group of seven telephone linemen from Newfoundland found themselves with some good fortune. These men had come to Quebec to assist Bell Canada in repairs. They were the lucky winners of a $1.88 million jackpot.

Tuesday, January 27th - 4:00 AM

  • The Saint-Cesaire substation was finally restored yesterday. The number of households without power is now down to 70,000.
  • Hydro Quebec has now said that it might take up to 10 days before the last 30,000 see power restored.
  • Around 250 crews are being brought in today from other parts of Canada to assist Hydro Quebec.
  • Temperatures hit a reported low of -24 degrees celcius overnight.
  • In Montreal North, a five year-old girl was killed yesterday when struck by a snow removal truck.
  • According to the Insurance Bureau of Canada's announcement yesterday, damage claims received so for for the province of Quebec alone total $380 million.

Monday, January 26th - 4:30 AM

  • The City of Montreal expects it to take until the end of the week to clear the most recent snowfall.
  • Not a good sign for the start of week three: it is expected that up to 30,000 households - or 75,000 Quebecers - will have to wait at least one more week before power is restored. Part of the reason is attributed to the Friday snowfall, which once again dampered Hydro's plans to restore the Saint-Cesaire station. There are an additional 30,000 households which are expected to have power restored within the next week.

Sunday, January 25th Headlines - 12:00 PM

  • Late yesterday, Hydro Quebec officials states that the number of households without power was down to approximately 85,000 - or just over 200,000 people.
  • Hydro is on target for the reconnection of Saint-Cesaire later today.  They continue to emphasize that reconnection does not mean that all households in that area will immediately regain power. In fact, over 50,000 are expected to be without power still tomorrow.

Saturday, January 24th Headlines - 6:00 PM

  • The entire Place Bourassa Mall was closed pending inspection for further damages after the collapse of the Zeller's roof.  Zellers has announced it will be closing 12 of its stores for de-icing.
  • There have been other reports of roofs collapsing.
  • Over 2,000 homes in New Brunswick have now lost their power with the latest storm.
  • The Civil Protection Department reports that under 8,000 people are still living in shelters in Quebec. There are approximately 130 shelters still open.

Saturday, January 24th Headlines - 12:00 PM

  • Total accumulated snow fall yesterday was approximately 24 centimetres.
  • The additional weight on roof tops with this recent snow fall is causing problems.
  • One of the Zellers stores, located at Place Bourassa in Montreal North, had half of its roof cave in just before 6 am. Fortunately, from the 20 or so employees on location, there are no reported injuries.
  • 28,000 homes or approximately 65,000 people in Maine are newly without power.  This is adding to the remaining 1,000 still in the dark after the first storm.  The state, during the peak of the ice storm, had over 600,000 people without power. Damages in Maine from the first storm are estimated at approximately 100 million dollars.

January 23nd Headlines - 8:00 PM

  • Today's accumulated snowfall is expected to total 25 centimetres.
  • The Quebec government has announced a business assistance program. The provincial government will guarantee up to 80% of business loans of up to $50,000 and 70% of business loans of up to $500,000. Business owners are saying it's good, but this is not enough. Businesses will still have to find banks or other financial institutions willing to grant the loan in the first place.

January 23nd Headlines - 2:00 PM

  • The weather is quite cold today and there is a heavy snowfall. Whether this will damper today's efforts is unknown.
  • Hydro Quebec has announced today that things are taking longer than anticipated as damages to the power grid are very extensive. Due to this, some customers may remain without power for a week or longer. From the latest release, Hydro is not willing to commit specifics.

January 22nd Headlines - 7:00 PM

  • Hydro Quebec announced this afternoon that there are currently 158,725 without power.
  • Load shedding is causing temporary power interruptions in Brossard, St. Lambert, St. Hubert, and Greenfield Park. Supposedly this will be completed by 9 pm.
  • Load shedding is also occuring in parts of Verdun, Lasalle and Lachine according to local news reports.
  • Temperatures reached a high of -14 degrees celcius; with the wind, it felt much colder.
  • Hydro Quebec has asked that people continue to use power in moderation during peak hours until tomorrow evening.
  • Hydro Quebec is fast-tracking plans to expand the power grid. It would consist of adding on 4 new lines covering a link to Ontario, the South Shore, the Island of Montreal and the Outaouasis region. These new lines would allow a loop to be created, avoiding interruptions in power if there were further problems. Some critics say that Bouchard and Hydro Quebec are using the situation to push forward the project without appropriate consultation.
  • A Verdun resident is lodging a class action law suit against Hydro Quebec and the provincial government. The claim is that HQ acted negligently in not having proper procedures in place to limit the problems that occured.
  • At a press conference today, Hydro Quebec announced that the restoration of the Saint-Cesaire substation will result in 90% of power being restored by Sunday, still leaving over 60,000 households in the dark.

January 22nd Headlines - 5:00 PM

  • The Federal Government has given some good news to municipalities affected by the storm: the government will pay the municipalities property taxes owed on Federal Government properties two months ahead of time.  Ottawa will be the biggest benefactor due to the number of Federal Government buildings located there.
  • Some bad news hit the Gaspe region overnight: over 6,000 Hydro Quebec customers lost their power.  It was restored soon after.
  • A committee is being formed in Ontario to deal with the disaster recovery efforts. The aim is to have all relief funds directed to this committee who will reappropriate funds to individual municipalities.  Some communities are not pleased with this as they have been spearheading their own fundraising efforts.

January 22nd Headlines - 1:00 AM

  • Businesses in the Montreal may continue to operate regular business hours today. However, Hydro has requested that moderate use of power is still followed.
  • The Federal Agricultural Minister announced that the Federal Government will be extending support to dairy farmers in Quebec and Ontario, after provincial and private insurance have helped.
  • There were more blackouts today: 12,200 clients in Boucherville,  Varennes, Ste-Julie and  Longueuil along with 1470 clients in Beaconsfield were once again without power. The reason has not yet been given. Supposedly the problem has now been resolved.
  • Hydro Quebec says that the situation is still fragile as there have been problems with ice build-up on high voltage lines.
  • In spite of the delay with the Saint-Cesaire substation, Hydro is still sticking by it's target to have most power restored by Sunday.  Their updated listing at their site reflects no apparent changes in their target dates.
  • Temperatures this evening are supposed to reach -18 degrees celcius.
  • Ski centres are finally being allowed to reopen this weekend - providing they are able to use their own power sources.
  • The Red Cross has issued another urgent appeal for blood donors.
  • Premier Bouchard announced yesterday that the only part of th Hydro strategical plan that is confirmed is that Hydro rates will be frozen for 3 years.  Good news for consumers, but is it enough?
  • Hydro Quebec announced yesterday that customers will be receiving a 38.5 cent (plus tax) per day credit if they were without power for longer than 24 hours. Due to billing cycles, some clients will not see this credit until possibly May.

January 21st Headlines - 12:00 PM

  • Yesterday, it came out that important information about the Montreal water supply had been withheld from the panic.  Read the Montreal Gazette's article on the subject for complete details.
  • The temperature today is -1 degrees celcius and it is sunny outside. Conditions are icy and quite slippery due to freezing overnight.
  • The total bill for losses is now up to 2 billion dollars in the Quebec region. Some are saying that the final tally will be much higher, while others are saying that these damages will actually contribute to a boost in the economy as rebuilding  takes place.
  • The total count for the number of households that lost power due to the problem at James Bay yesterday was over 110,000. The problem started around 4 pm and load-shedding was stopped just after 8 pm.  I've heard various accounts of what happened to bring the two lines from James Bay down.
  • As a result of yesterday's problems, Hydro Quebec has once again appealed to people to make moderate use of electricity during the peak hours of 6 am to 9 pm for both on and off the island of Montreal.
  • Why does Hydro have to use load shedding as it did yesterday? (i.e. purposely cutting power to areas selectively) If the demands for power are greater than what is available, it could result in the entire region losing power.
  • Bad news for those on the South Shore who had expected power to be restored soon: Hydro Quebec had previously announced that the Saint-Cesaire substation work would begin today. Now it has said Friday.
  • Public security officials announced yesterday that the count of people in shelters had dropped to 12,419 people staying in a total of 175 shelters on Monday. This is on top of 2,467 people who were placed in private homes.
  • With the continual progress being seen, the 9,000 soldiers in Quebec are starting to be pulled out today. At the peak of the crisis, over 15,000 soldiers were assisting in Quebec and Ontario.
  • Hydro Quebec has not provided any updates on the number of customers currently without power.

January 20th Headlines - 6:00 PM

  • Hydro Quebec had dropped the numbers down to 184,000 customers without power by this afternoon. However, a power overload on the system cut power to over 100,000 customers on the island.  This brings the temporary number without power back up to almost 1 million people. The primary reason being given for the problem is that one of the main lines from James Bay went down earlier today.
  • The metro system was affected because of the excess of power. Downtown is a mess. Lines for buses expand full blocks. Businesses are being asked to close immediately.  I am not sure what happened, but I saw three different groups of emergency vehicles going in different directions.
  • Hydro is asking people once again to restrict power usage during peak consumption times (until 9 pm).
  • They are using load-shedding to help reduce the load on the system. This means that if you are a local resident, you might experience a temporary loss of power. People are being advised not to panic as power should hopefully be restored within an hour or two after this happens.
  • There are concerns being cited by the Liberal opposition that Bouchard and the PQ are using the ice storm and the affects to let Hydro go ahead with a project that had been previously rejected - primarily because of it's potential affects on the environment.
  • Temperature is expected to reach -11 degrees celcius this evening. Conditions are a mess right now with low temperatures today.
  • City of Montreal residents will be able to start collect their checks tomorrow. (See our Help Available section)
  • A major problem now being dealt with by local residents is the build of ice on rooftops.
  • Ontario Hydro announced today that those customers in regions hit by the ice storm will get a break on their next bill - the service charge will be waived. In addition, for those that receive a monthly estimated bill, the energy consumption portion will be reduced by 25%. 

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