Hydro-Québec reconfigured its transmission system so as to secure energy sources and integrate new line routes. The new routes provided many different configurations to deliver power. So if a satellite substation on the transmission grid were lost, distribution lines from another substation could take over to supply customers.
Up until 1998, transmission lines could resist a weight equivalent to about 45 mm of ice. That was the standard for pretty much all electric utilities. But in January 1998, over 100 mm of ice built up in some regions. So after that, the mechanical strength of equipment was improved and new lines were built to stricter engineering standards.
Every tenth tower along a transmission line is now a very robust anti-cascading tower, to limit the damage that could result from the collapse of a single tower.
On the distribution system, poles and their anchorings were strengthened. The new poles can withstand heavy loads of ice and strong gusts of wind. Only the cables themselves may fall.
Vegetation control plays an important role in preventing outages, by keeping power lines clear even before storms occur. If trees grow too close to lines, short circuits may occur and cause outages. With strong winds and freezing rain, branches and entire trees get too close to lines, damaging them and hindering service restoration.
Experimental lines have been put up at Hydro-Québec’s research institute. They are used to replicate ice storm conditions and test concepts and parameters. Some findings have been incorporated into Hydro-Québec standards and building methods. Other research projects help make the grid more robust. A new generation of insulators and interphase spacers has been developed, for example.
The Hydro-Québec Web site received a tremendous number of visits in January 1998 from people wishing to know the state of the power outages and the condition of the grid. In 2015, Hydro-Québec began launching the next generation of communication tools for customers, the Hydro-Québec app and the Power Outage information site, as well as maintaining a social media presence on platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn,X (Twitter), X (Twitter) customer account, Instagram and YouTube. Users who download the app or follow the company on social media now have a handy direct connection to Hydro-Québec.