Montreal

April ice storm cost Hydro-Quebec $14 million due to damage, overtime

Some 316,000 residential customers in Montreal, Laval, the Laurentians and the Lanaudière region lost power during last April's ice storm, costing the public utility about $14 million in overtime wages and repair expenditures.

45,500 hours of overtime alone cost the utility about $3.6 million

Across Quebec, more than 300,000 Hydro customers lost electricity due to the icy weather in April. (Mathieu Wagner/Radio-Canada)

The ice storm that plunged hundreds of thousands of Hydro-Québec customers into darkness in April cost the provincia utility about $14 million, according to data provided to The Canadian Press.

In comparison, Hydro-Québec said previously that tornadoes that swept the Gatineau area in September prompted about $8.4 million in damage-related expenditures.

At the height of the outages, which occurred from April 8-12, some 316,000 residential customers in Montreal, Laval, the Laurentians and the Lanaudière region lost power. 

During peak periods, Hydro-Québec had up to 1,000 employees in the field, alongside teams from Hydro-Sherbrooke and Vermont's Green Mountain Power.

Workers — mainly line labourers — put in nearly 45,500 hours of overtime at a cost of about $3.6 million.

Hydro-Québec said it's making efforts to limit overtime, but the Crown corporation will likely see its bill continue to rise in 2019.

Last year, it paid nearly $165 million in additional hours, owing in part to the Gatineau tornadoes and a winter storm on the Magdalen Islands.