Hydro estimates cost of Manitoba snow storm over $100 million
As the utility company begins its final push to restore electricity to remote areas in the Interlake area, now less than 2,000 people are still in the dark. (Photo: Manitoba Hydro)
Published Sunday, October 20, 2019 2:35PM CST
The efforts to restore power across Manitoba following a severe snow storm that rocked the province, may cost over $100 million, according to Manitoba Hydro.
As the utility company begins its final push to restore electricity to remote areas in the Interlake area, now less than 2,000 people are still in the dark.
Manitoba Hydro said about 1,000 people are out fixing the damage caused by the storm, some working in mud up to their chests. So far over 65 per cent of the damaged wood hydro poles have been replaced, representing 650 kilometres of power lines. While Hydro’s estimated cost of repairs is preliminary, it said it will be weeks before the actual cost is known.
With over 1,300 poles still damaged, Hydro said they will keep the efforts going.
“Much of the remaining damage is located in remote, hard-to-reach areas and our crews are working in extremely difficult conditions to complete this work,” said Manitoba Hydro President Jay Grewal, in a news release.
“I’ve seen some staff working up to their chests in water and mud. This means progress restoring our remaining customers is going to move more slowly, but I want them to know that we won’t stop until everyone’s lights are back on.”
Manitoba Hydro said the majority of customers still without power are in the Ashern area, including the First Nation communities of Little Saskatchewan, Dauphin River, Lake St. Martin, Fairford and Homebrook.
A generator was sent to Dauphin River First Nation on Sunday to provide electricity, while work to repair the power lines is expected to take at least another three days, Hydro said. Another generator is being sent to the Lake St. Martin First Nation.
As of Sunday afternoon field crews in the Dauphin and Neewpawa regions began redeploying to the Lundar and St. Martin areas. Once the outages are restored in these areas, Hydro said crews will be heading to Portage la Prairie regions.
Hydro gives tips on generator safety
Manitoba Hydro is warning those relying on generators for power, to never plug a generator into a household electrical outlet. This can push electricity back into the powerlines, which can put Manitoba Hydro crews at risk of serious injury or death.
Hydro said a generator can be connected to each appliance with extension cords, or to an outlet that is permanently wired, with a transfer switch, to the outside of your home or building. The utility said a transfer switch stops your generator from pushing electricity back into power lines and protects the crews working on the lines.