A week after the violent storm that hit much of Quebec, the 14,000 homes still in the dark are eager to find electricity.
• Read also: 10% of Hydro Ottawa customers still without power
• Read also: More than 2,000 Hydro workers still on the ground to reconnect Quebec
• Read also: Quebec will help social assistance recipients affected by prolonged outages
“I get calls from completely desperate people wondering what is happening and if they have been forgotten,” says Michèle Lalonde, mayor of Sainte-Adèle, in the Laurentians.
At the end of the day yesterday, nearly 15% of households in the municipality still did not have access to electricity, making it one of the most affected in Quebec.
"At first, Hydro-Quebec hoped to have everything hooked up by Friday night. But we went on Saturday and it still hasn't come back. She doesn't want to make predictions anymore because of the surprises that employees encounter in certain places,” continues Ms. Lalonde.
“We arrive in the heaviest cases: damaged networks, a lot of vegetation to clear, more distant networks where you have to walk several hundred meters to get to,” lists Geneviève Chouinard, spokesperson for Hydro-Quebec.
In all, 14,000 state-owned utility customers have been without power since the May 21 storm. At the height of the crisis, 554,000 customers had lost power.
Destitute without power
Some of them, who do not have access to a generator to run their basic household appliances, feel helpless.
"I've been eating cold for a week and I don't know what coffee is. [...] I wash most often with a washcloth, "says Jean-Louis Douay, 71, met on leaving the toilet blocks installed by the City of Sainte-Adèle.
"As we are older, we have less resistance, it's more stressful," continues Claire Meilleur, 77, who came to the local community center to read the newspaper and do her crossword with her husband.
The municipality of Sainte-Adèle is therefore offering psychological support this weekend to its disaster-stricken residents who feel the need for it.
More than 2,000 Hydro-Québec workers are still busy reconnecting the last users.
“We saw a lot of Hydro-Quebec trucks in the municipality. We were sent heavy artillery,” said Gilles Boucher, mayor of Sainte-Marguerite-du-Lac-Masson.
These were more than welcome in the municipality, while a quarter of its inhabitants still had no electricity yesterday at the end of the day.
“When the blackout started, people were helping each other. There, they have a little more short wick and are really tanned, "observes Valentin Dath, a municipal employee in charge of helping victims who want to take a shower or fill their water cans.
►Social assistance recipients affected by power outages lasting more than 24 hours will be able to obtain a sum of $75 for each member of the family, for a maximum amount of $300, Quebec announced yesterday.