Final push to reconnect customers in Interlake begins today

Manitoba Hydro crews redeploy to repair extensive storm damage

Less than 2,000 customers remain without electricity today as work to repair damage caused by last weekend’s storm continues.

The majority of those customers are in the Ashern area, including the First Nation communities of Little Saskatchewan, Dauphin River, Lake St. Martin, Fairford and Homebrook.

A generator was delivered to Dauphin River First Nation earlier today to provide electricity to that community. Work to repair extensive damage to the power line that supplies the community is expected to take at least another three days. A generator is also expected to arrive in Lake St. Martin First Nation tomorrow or Tuesday.

As of today, more than 65 per cent of the wood poles damaged in the winter storm are now replaced, representing nearly 650 kilometres of power lines. The effort required to replace the remaining 1,300 poles and 300 kilometres of lines is increasing significantly, Manitoba Hydro President and Chief Executive Officer Jay Grewal said.

“Much of the remaining damage is located in remote, hard-to-reach areas and our crews are working in extremely difficult conditions to complete this work,” Grewal said. “I’ve seen some staff working up to their chests in water and mud. This means progress restoring our remaining customers is going to move more slowly, but I want them to know that we won’t stop until everyone’s lights are back on.”

Today, field crews working in the Dauphin and Neepawa regions began redeploying to camps established in Lundar and St. Martin to support restoration efforts. Crews will also redeploy from the Portage la Prairie region in the coming days once remaining outages in that area are restored.

Approximately 1,000 people are working to repair the storm damage, including crews from Manitoba Hydro, various contractors and partner utilities SaskPower, Hydro One and Minnesota Power. Over 300 additional Manitoba Hydro employees are also working behind-the-scenes to support the logistical challenges of this massive storm restoration. In total, nearly 25 per cent of the corporation’s employees have been engaged in the effort over the last 11 days.

Preliminary estimates for the cost of this restoration effort by Manitoba Hydro are in excess of $100 million, but the utility says actual costs won’t be known for a number of weeks.

Use generators safely

Manitoba Hydro reminds customers who may be relying on portable generators to never plug a generator into a regular household electrical outlet. This can push electricity back into power lines, putting the public and Manitoba Hydro crews at risk of serious injury or death.

A generator can be connected to each appliance with extension cords, or to an outlet that is permanently wired, with a transfer switch, to the outside of your home or building. A transfer switch stops your generator from pushing electricity back into power lines and protects our crews working on the lines from risk of serious injury or death.

Please see Manitoba Hydro’s website for additional information on our storm response.

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For more information, please contact:

Bruce Owen – Media Relations Officer
204-360-3651
Cell. 204-794-8270
bowen@hydro.mb.ca

Scott Powell — Director, Corporate Communications
204-360-4417
Cell. 204-299-8849
spowell@hydro.mb.ca