Power woes

By Louise Smith

Compared to the destruction experienced in the States, what we went through Saturday night into Sunday was more of an inconvenience than life-threatening. However the winds did cause damage and wide spread power outages. At one point over 230,000 households across Quebec were without power. Many households across the Townships went dark.

Power came back on in spurts throughout Sunday and not everyone was reconnected. Walking around on streets without electricity, the hum of generators was heard from quite a few houses. After the ice storm of 1998 and several other outages, some lasting for days, more and more people are looking for back-up systems. If a power outage occurs over a wide region it does mean that a drive quite far afield will be necessary to get gas. Gas pumps will not work without electricity.
Now for some pondering.

The minister at Emmanuel United Church owns an electric car and it was parked inside a garage that opened with an electric system. He needed a lift to get to his two services on Sunday. As of 2035 all new cars in Quebec will have to be electric. If we experience an extended outage, that will cause a problem not just for regular drivers but for emergency vehicles as well. I wonder if Hydro Electric repair trucks going to power failure regions will be electric or if they will stay gasoline operated. Just think, as electric cars proliferate, gas stations will reduce in number. Generators run on gasoline. Perhaps the ideal solution is hybrid vehicles to be best prepared for any situation. Power failures are quite common in our province.

The Quebec government is also phasing out all heating systems other than electric. In many municipalities fireplaces and wood stoves are already banned. That is not the case in most municipalities in our region. As the power failure continued, those with fireplaces or wood stoves got a fire going, and neighbours without heat visited with those owners to get warm. Will generators be the only way that households will be heated during a power failure in the future?
It is good to go green but until our hydro electric system has more failsafe guards in place, eliminating alternate sources of heat and power might not be such a good idea.

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