Power slowly returns to Eastern Townships

Thousands of Quebec households and businesses are into their third day without power, almost all of them in the Eastern Townships and southern Montérégie.

Hydro-Québec says power could be out until Wednesday evening for some customers

More than 29,000 Hydro-Québec customers are still without power in the Eastern Townships and Montérégie, many of whom may not have electricity restored until Wednesday evening. (CBC)

Thousands of Quebec households and businesses are into their third day without power, with almost all of them in the Eastern Townships and Montérégie regions of the province.

Hydro-Québec customers in the areas hardest hit by an ice storm that swept through parts Ontario and Quebec Saturday might only see power restored late in the evening of December 25.

Still, Hydro workers are making progress. They restored power to over 12,000 customers over the course of the day on Tuesday.

"Power restoration operations are going well. At 4 p.m., 20,000 people are still affected by outages in the Eastern Townships and in the south of Montérégie," says spokeswoman Hélène Perrault.

The vast majority of those still without power are in the Estrie region that encompasses much of the Eastern Townships.

The area around Memphremagog was among the hardest hit parts of the region, with widespread outages still being reported in Magog, Orford and Austin, among other municipalities.

Other regions affected by power outages include Val Saint-François, le Haut Saint-François, Coaticook and parts of Sherbrooke.

In Montérégie, more than 5,000  homes and businesses were without power Friday afternoon, the vast majority in Brome-Missisquoi and Haute-Yamaska.

Hydro-Québec says it has 500 workers on the ground working around the clock to restore power to affected customers.

Residents get creative

At least one family in the Eastern Townships is thinking creatively when it comes to keeping themselves warm and clean until the power returns. 

Mo Ittihadieh, who owns a vacation home in Georgeville, told CBC News that among the measures his family has resorted to is getting a day pass for the local gym so they can take hot showers. They've also been watching movies on an iPad that they charge in the car.

As for his Christmas dinner plans, Ittihadieh says he might barbecue his turkey.

"We're tapping the pioneer spirit," he says, "and practising our socializing and bonding."