West Bolton resident recalls tumultuous winter blackout period

By Michael Boriero - Local Journalism Initiative
West Bolton resident recalls tumultuous winter blackout period

André Fedorowicz has lived in West Bolton for 22 years, and while blackouts have always been common in the area, especially during periods of unruly weather, he has never experienced anything quite like what happened this past winter season.

West Bolton residents faced a number of prolonged blackouts in the dead of winter. According to Fedorowicz, he lost power four times, which he confirmed with Hydro-Québec, on Jan. 14, 16, 22, and Feb. 4. And each time he was left in the dark for nearly 10 hours.

An extended blackout is frustrating for anyone, but in Fedorowicz’s case, it could mean life or death for the horses living on his farm. During the colder months, his horses remain inside and they need to drink plenty of water. But without electricity the water pump is useless to him.

“If they go all night without drinking water, they’ll eat dry hay and everything, and after they can develop what we call colic, which means the intestines are blocked. They can either die or you can bring them to the hospital in Saint-Hyacinthe,” said Fedorowicz in a phone interview.

He told Brome County News that none of his horses fell to any illnesses this year. However, if it wasn’t for Fedorowicz purchasing a portable generator, the outcome could have been very different. He has a bone to pick with how Hydro-Québec communicates with Quebecers.

“The problem is if we call the phone number, which is known everywhere, there is a computer that answers you, it’s not a living person, it’s just a computer programmed to answer the phone and tell you information about the blackout,” said Fedorowicz.
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