Cross Lake family's power restored amid local fight with Hydro

A family in the northern Manitoba community of Cross Lake has electricity again, almost a week after having no power or heat amid a dispute between the local First Nation and Manitoba Hydro.

First Nation and Manitoba Hydro in dispute over hundreds of unpaid bills

The Muskego family sent CBC News this photograph of a Hydro repair crew on the reserve on Tuesday. (Submitted by Jenny Muskego)

A family in the northern Manitoba community of Cross Lake has electricity again, almost a week after having no power or heat amid a dispute between the local First Nation and Manitoba Hydro.

Kathy Muskego's home lost power on Thursday, after a fuse burnt out at a nearby transformer. A crew came to the reserve on Tuesday to repair it.

Manitoba Hydro had said it would not service Cross Lake because some people on the reserve have threatened its workers, while the band council said the utility wasn't going there because hundreds of people owe money in unpaid bills.

Earlier this week, Muskego said she was frustrated that the utility would not conduct any repairs on the reserve, even though she has paid her Hydro bills.

"I'm paying for everybody's mistakes," Muskego told CBC News on Sunday.

She had been using a gas-powered generator and space heater while the power was out.

The First Nation confirmed that 281 people there have not paid their Manitoba Hydro bills, with some owing thousands of dollars stretching back years.

Four houses had their power disconnected over unpaid bills, so band officials sent Hydro a letter in September ordering it not to send crews to the reserve to disconnect any more homes.

Manitoba Hydro has said crews won't go to Cross Lake because collection agents have been threatened by people there and the local Hydro office had been blockaded.

First Nation officials and Manitoba Hydro say they are in discussions to resolve the dispute.

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