A number of residents in Manitoba’s Westman region are having electricity issues, forcing some to find alternate ways to heat their homes.

Manitoba Hydro official Glenn Schneider said warmer-than-normal December weather has caused outages from the U.S.-border to Roblin and from Saskatchewan East to Pilot Mound.

Manitoba Hydro said the ice and hoar frost that has built up on power lines has caused major problems in the area.

 “If it’s -14 C you don’t have this problem, but if it’s around the melting point you get freezing rain coming down and that’s the problem,” said Schneider.

The weight of the ice can cause lines to snap, and in some cases crews have had to shut off the power for up to three hours to remove the ice.

Schneider added this is a rarity and doesn’t typically happen around this time of year. “Normally in Manitoba, you don’t get those kind of conditions into December – or they’re very rare – so this is very unusual for this time of year,” Schneider said.

The outage has forced some residents in Rapid City to heat their homes with electric fireplaces and backup generators.

Anyone who sees sagging or downed power lines is asked to call Manitoba Hydro.