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Power outages continue in Ontario, Quebec after Boxing Day – CTV News

Following the wild winter storms that began last week, thousands of Canadians are still without power. Residents in parts of Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick began Tuesday in the dark as utility crews worked to restore electricity.

As of Tuesday afternoon, more than 27,000 Hydro-Quebec customers remain without power, while Hydro One in Ontario is reporting 279 power outages with more than 11,000 customers affected.

Since the winter storm began, electricity has been restored to more than 430,000 residents in Ontario, Hydro One said in a statement released on Monday. Road closures, however, have delayed access to certain parts of the province, such as areas in Bracebridge, Huntsville and Parry Sound.

“We continue to move crews into the hardest hit areas to help get the power restored as roads reopen. In the meantime, our dedicated team members are using every means possible to reach customers in these inaccessible areas,” said David Lebeter, Hydro One’s chief operating officer, in a statement issued on Monday evening.

Ontario’s Niagara region also remains under a state of emergency that was declared on Dec. 24. The emergency status was announced due to dangerous, blizzard-like conditions such as blowing snow and limited visibility.

As of Tuesday afternoon, Environment Canada has issued a snow squall warning for Parry Sound, Ont. Snow squall warnings were also issued for Barrie and Grey-Bruce on Tuesday morning. Wind, snowfall and freezing rain warnings have been issued by Environment Canada for parts of British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan as well.

In Quebec, thousands of residents across Quebec City, Saguenay-Lac-St-Jean and Cote-Nord were without power as of Tuesday morning. According to the CEO of Hydro-Quebec, most of the province’s residents who are still without power can expect their lights and heat to turn back on by Wednesday.

“Today and tomorrow are going to be long,” Hydro-Quebec’s president and CEO Sophie Brochu said during a conference on Monday.

This comes after high winds and snow squalls hit the province starting Thursday night. Since then, Hydro-Quebec said it has restored services to approximately 90 per cent of all households impacted by the extreme weather.

“In total, close to 670 000 customers will have been affected at some point since Thursday night as unusually strong wind gusts moved across the province,” reads a press released issued by the company on Monday.

On Twitter, Quebec Premier Francois Legault acknowledged the frustration felt by those who remain without power. According to Hydro-Quebec, service restoration times listed online are approximate.

As of Tuesday afternoon, electricity has also been restored to most New Brunswick Power customers affected by the storm, with fewer than 40 residents still in the dark and 15 outages still in effect. At the height of the outage, more than 70,000 customers were without power as of Saturday morning, states the company’s website.

According to New Brunswick Power, the outage is one of the largest to hit the province within the last 25 years.

DANGEROUS WEATHER DELAYS TRAVEL

Dangerous weather conditions also left a number of holiday travellers stranded over the weekend. On Saturday, Via Rail announced a CN train derailment resulted in trip cancellations on Christmas and Boxing Day between Toronto and Ottawa, and Toronto and Montreal.

The cancellations followed winter storm conditions involving snow, freezing rain and high winds. The weather left planes grounded and stalled numerous other Via Rail trains between Ontario and Quebec, leaving some passengers stranded for hours.

Via Rail resumed services on its Toronto-Ottawa and Toronto-Montreal routes Tuesday, but will follow a modified schedule.

With files from The Canadian Press and CTV News Montreal’s Joe Lofaro