Power back on for all customers hit in Thanksgiving weekend storm

Manitoba Hydro focuses now on cleanup of broken poles, transformers, wires

This article was published in October 2019 and may be outdated.

(WINNIPEG) — All communities that lost power in an unmatched Thanksgiving weekend storm are now restored — opening the way for evacuated residents to prepare to return home.

Large diesel generators will temporarily supply power to Little Saskatchewan First Nation, Lake St. Martin First Nation and the community of Dauphin River as work continues to repair power lines to the communities damaged in the Oct. 11-13 storm.

In the two weeks since the storm hit Winnipeg, southwestern Manitoba and the Interlake, Manitoba Hydro and partner utilities replaced over 4,000 damaged wood poles in 11 days and repaired approximately 950 kilometres of power lines.

“Manitoba Hydro employees worked tirelessly around the clock to restore power to communities affected by the fall storm,” Premier Brian Pallister said. “We thank those employees for their continued dedication and express gratitude to our neighbours, to private contractors and to the thousands of Manitobans who have helped speed up our province’s recovery. There is more work to do, certainly, but as we’ve seen these past two weeks, we can accomplish anything when all of us work together.”

Crews from SaskPower, Hydro One and Minnesota Power, who helped restoration efforts since Oct. 15 after the premier declared a limited state of emergency, began returning home Wednesday. Many Manitoba Hydro employees are also returning home and to regular duties.

“This was a huge challenge for Manitoba Hydro and one we met head-on with the help of neighbouring utilities, partner contractors and the support of thousands of Manitobans,” Manitoba Hydro President & CEO Jay Grewal said.

Grewal said the utility now has the task of cleaning up broken poles, transformers, overhead wires and other materials. To restore customers quickly after the storm, these materials were left in place as new power lines were built. Manitoba Hydro anticipates completing cleanup by mid-November, weather permitting.

“A lot of this damaged equipment is along roads and ditches and may be near private property,” Grewal said. “We’re asking our customers to be on the lookout for these materials in all areas of southern Manitoba as it could pose a hazard to anyone riding an off-road vehicle such as an ATV, dirt bike or snowmobile, or to cross country skiers and back-country hikers.”

Manitoba Hydro asks that people not move any damaged materials. The wires and poles may be from the Thanksgiving storm, but could be from a more recent outage and pose a hazard. Manitobans should call 911 if the damage looks recent and is an immediate public safety risk.

Livestock producers or those with animals should try to keep all livestock, horses and other animals such as pets away from areas with downed power lines, broken poles or damaged equipment to avoid injury or entanglement.

Thanksgiving outage restoration: by the numbers

Over the course of restoring damage from the Thanksgiving storm, about 1,000 people from Manitoba Hydro, Minnesota Power, SaskPower, and Hydro One replaced over 4,000 poles and re-strung over 950 kilometres of distribution power lines. From Oct. 10 – Oct. 17, Manitoba Hydro received over 266,000 outage reports.

Here are some other numbers you may not have heard about. During restoration, we sent out:

  • 7,059 articles of fire-retardant clothing (shirts, overalls, and jackets);
  • 3,168 pairs of gloves/mitts;
  • 2,727 pairs of socks;
  • 1,162 pairs of underwear;
  • 808 blister kits;
  • 715 boot dryers;
  • 500 laundry bags;
  • 411 pairs of rubber boots;
  • 244 hip/chest waders;
  • 157 pairs of shoelaces.

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For more information, please contact:

Bruce Owen – Media Relations Officer
Cell. 204-794-8270

Riley McDonald — Media Relations Assistant
Cell. 204-599-8193