Videotron says the outage affected 896,000 customers in Montreal. ((CBC))

Videotron said an electrical problem was responsible for a major outage this afternoon that affected all its subscribers in Montreal Wednesday afternoon.

The company's director of communications, Marc Labelle, said a short circuit on the company's central electrical distribution panel in Montreal cut cable television, phone and internet service to 896,000 customers.

Labelle said the short circuit lasted only one or two minutes, but it took 20 minutes to re-establish service.

"We would have to look far back into Videotron's history to find an outage as big as this," said Labelle.

"Normally we have a battery system, but this happened right at the source."

Labelle said service was fully restored by 2 p.m.

He said the company does not believe the situation was the result of an act of sabotage.