Montréal, June 14, 2022

Press Release

A look at the outages caused by the May 21 derecho

On May 21, Québec was hit by a storm that caused thousands of power outages as it swept through an area of over 300 km with gusts of up to 150 km/h.


Over 550,000 customers lost power at the storm’s peak. Wreaking major havoc, the derecho was one of the most intensive weather events since the 1998 ice storm in terms of the response it required. The Outaouais, Laurentides, Lanaudière, Mauricie and Capitale-Nationale regions were hit particularly hard.


Thousands of employees from Hydro-Québec and its partners worked tirelessly for over a week to restore service to all customers who had experienced outages as a result of the severe storm.

We thank our customers for their patience and for their gratitude toward our employees.


“As always with major weather events, our employees rose to the occasion. From our line workers out in the field to our dedicated contractors to our administrative staff who made sure everyone had somewhere to sleep in between back-to-back 16-hour shifts. I thank them all for their dedication and determination. I’d also like to thank our customers for their patience and for helping us avoid accidents by not taking any unnecessary risks.” – Sophie Brochu, President and Chief Executive Officer, Hydro-Québec

Unfortunately, the large-scale mobilization entailed by the event has led to the postponement of certain jobs, a situation that will continue to affect connection wait times and various interventions over the next few weeks.


However, our employees are doing their utmost to mitigate the impact of this and we would like to thank our customers in advance for their patience. 


  • Cost of the work: approximately $70 million (*figure apt to increase)
  • 11,254 outages in total
  • 554,649 customers affected as at 8 p.m. on May 21, mainly in the Outaouais, Laurentides and Lanaudière regions
  • 85% of customers reconnected within 72 hours of the event’s peak
  • 95% of customers reconnected within 125 hours of the event’s peak, or midnight on May 27
  • 160,000 hours worked by our line workers
  • Over 2,000 employees working flat out for 11 days
  • 90% of the damage leading to the outages caused by vegetation
  • 1,125 poles replaced
  • Over 400 transformers replaced
  • 40 km of electric cables installed



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