As of 12:45 p.m. Sunday afternoon just over 31,000 customers were without power across the province. That's down from more than 52,000 customers Saturday afternoon according to Manitoba Hydro. Locally within the Pembina and Red River Valleys the R.M. of Dufferin, R.M. of Roland, R.M. of Grey, the R.M. of Portage la Prairie, City of Portage la Prairie, and R.M. of Stanley still have significant numbers without power.
Even though there is still much work ahead of crews, progress is being made according to spokesperson Scott Powell. According to the utility’s Twitter page, crews made good progress Saturday, restoring almost 30,000 customers in Winnipeg and nearly 43,000 customers in rural areas.
In a tweet late Saturday it was indicated, in rural regions, a significant amount of Manitoba Hydro’s equipment is more damaged than originally thought. Getting access and materials to those sites to fix these problems has been especially difficult because of transportation challenges. Especially in the Portage la Prairie and Interlake areas.
That feeling was backed-up further Sunday afternoon in a news release from the utility which indicated major transmission towers and hundred of hydro poles have been damaged as a result of the storm.
“The effects of the storm are far worse than what we initially anticipated in those areas,” said Jay Grewal, President and CEO of Manitoba Hydro.
“Once we began to get access to these areas and previously impassable roads with the help of staff from Manitoba Infrastructure, we began discovering levels of damage never seen before, spread across a large geographic area, “Grewal said. “Sections of our transmission and distribution system are completely destroyed, and will require a total rebuild before coming back on line. In addition, we are still experiencing issues with impassable roads and possible shortages of the materials needed to repair the damage.
“In short, this means many customers will not have electricity for days—a situation we know creates a great deal of hardship.
Grewal noted the state of emergency declared Saturday by the Premier, allows Manitoba Hydro to invoke its ‘mutual aid’ agreements with neighbouring Canadian and U.S. utilities for support and additional materials such as poles, overhead wires, and equipment. This is the first time Manitoba Hydro has asked for mutual aid from other utilities, and is an indication of the unprecedented level of damage crews are discovering as they gain access to impacted areas of the province