Power restored after widespread outage leaves thousands of Montrealers in the dark

The outage was caused by an entrepreneur that cut a cable, Hydro-Quebec said. The cable has been repaired.

At the height of the outage, 275,000 customers were without electricity

A Montreal police officer directs traffic at an intersection where the lights weren't working. A power outage knocked out electricity to a large swath of the eastern end of the island Tuesday morning. (Simon-Marc Charron/Radio-Canada)

Power has been restored to all but a handful of thousands of Hydro-Quebec customers who were left without electricity in Montreal this morning after a widespread outage.

The outage began around 8:50 a.m., when a worker cut a cable at one of the island's main power distribution stations, according to Hydro-Quebec spokesperson Serge Abergel.

It's still unclear whether a private contractor or Hydro crews on the ground cut the cord, though Abergel said preliminary information indicates it was the former.

The cable has been repaired, and power has been restored to most people in the affected areas.

At the height of the outage, 275,000 customers, including a number of schools in the English Montreal School Board (EMSB)  were affected by the outage.

Many of them were in the Plateau–Mont-Royal, Rosemont, Villeray, Rivière-des-Prairies and Pointe-aux-Trembles neighbourhoods, all in the eastern part of the island.

"Obviously we're very concerned with what's just happened this morning. Losing power to 275,000 customers during the morning rush hour is not the greatest thing," Abergel said.

"We understand that it puts a lot of pressure on customers and clients that are taking the Metro and trying to get to work so we do our best to bring it back as quickly as possible."

The outage also affected the Metro's Blue line, which was down in its entirety for about an hour before service was restored around 10 a.m.

With files from Lauren McCallum