Friday, July 12, 2024
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Serres Amyotte hit hard by ongoing Upper Pontiac power outages

Paul Amyotte has been farming for over 20 years, but he’s never seen power outages like those that have plagued the Upper Pontiac this summer.
His Serres Paul Amyotte greenhouse on Rue Principale in Mansfield has lost power around a half-dozen times during the series of outages that hit Mansfield, Waltham, Chichester, Allumette Island and Sheenboro over the past two weeks.
Amyotte said the power outages have been affecting the productivity of crops, and have cost him about 80 per cent of his cucumbers and a quarter of his tomatoes.
One morning last week the greenhouses lost power, but Amyotte was told by Hydro-Québec that the power would be back on around 9:30 a.m., so he waited for it to come back on at that time.
It did not. Power did not come back on until around 1 p.m. that day, and Amyotte said the restoration delay really hurt his plants.
His tomatoes are kept alive via a hydroponic system which feeds the plants nutrients and water in a small bag in which the plants root. This system uses a timer which relies on electricity to keep it running, adding water to the bag when the water level is low.
“One tomato plant will drink the water in a half-hour,” Amyotte said, explaining that because the power was out, the plants didn’t receive the water they needed.
Amyotte said if Hydro-Québec had told him the power wouldn’t be restored until 1:30 p.m., he would have hooked his plants up to an alternative water source. He has ponds behind the greenhouse he can use in case of emergencies.
These ponds wouldn’t have been able to . . .

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