By Gordon Lambie
A falling tree cost the City of Sherbrooke close to $3 million at the end of December by causing an electrical fault that destroyed two power transformer groups at Hydro-Sherbrooke’s Orford substation.
“With the strong winds on Dec. 23, there were many outages, including one that was very close to the Orford substation,” said Hydro Sherbrooke Director Christian Laprise. “In that case a tree fell on a double-circuit line, which is to say a high-tension line with six wires.”
According to Laprise, there were four transformers linked to that line, two of which faulted and were damaged. Normally a substation always has a backup transformer that can take on extra current in the case of equipment failure, but with two breaking down at once, the situation became a matter of greater concern.
At a special meeting of Sherbrooke’s City Council held on Tuesday, the council received a report on emergency actions taken by the Mayor following the storm, including the issuing of a contract worth $2,625,000 to Hydro Quebec for new equipment, and a second one to Surplex Inc. for $300,000 to cover the installation costs.