Monday, July 07, 2014

Arthur leaves 91,000 without power in N.B., 39,000 in N.S.

NB Power had estimated half of customers would be back up Sunday night, N.S. power returning slowly

CBC News Posted: Jul 07, 2014 6:17 AM AT Last Updated: Jul 07, 2014 12:22 PM AT
Crews are struggling to restore power to nearly 91,000 customers in New Brunswick and 39,000 in Nova Scotia, two days after post-tropical storm Arthur hit the Maritimes.
The hardest-hit area in New Brunswick was Fredericton, where 43,994 customers are without power, according to NB Power’s website at 10:53 a.m. AT.
  • In western New Brunswick, there are 13,410 customers still in the dark in Woodstock.
  • In southern New Brunswick, NB Power reports there are 10,411 customers without power in St. Stephen and 9,881 in Rothesay.
  • Meanwhile, in eastern New Brunswick, there are 5,662 people without power in Miramichi.
The restoration of power is taking longer than NB Power predicted on Sunday.
Gaëtan Thomas, president and chief executive officer of NB Power, said Sunday that half of the 135,000 of customers without electricity "should have power back by midnight tonight. The majority of our customers by noon” on Monday.

Thomas told CBC's Information Morning Fredericton on Monday the utility has been forced to reassess its estimates for restoring power to much of the province.

“The target now is to have 80 per cent of our customers restored within five days. That is quite exceptional considering the damage; 2,000 trees in Fredericton alone and we estimate tens of thousands of trees across the province,” Thomas said.

NB Power says the remaining 20 per cent of customers will have their power restored by the weekend.

Thomas said crews restored power to about 77,000 customers on Sunday but many had to be restored twice or three times.

NB Power posted on its Twitter account that the company's estimates for returning power to many New Brunswickers was "overly optimistic."

Nova Scotia Power is in a similar situation, with 39,000 customers still without electricity on Monday.

The utility had previously estimated most customers would have power restored Sunday evening.
Neera Ritcey, a spokeswoman for Nova Scotia Power, said the majority of customers would have their power back on Monday, but others could be waiting until Wednesday.

There will be more than 200 crews working in New Brunswick by noon on Monday, Thomas said. Additional crews are coming from Maine and Quebec.

Thomas said crews are working 24 hours a day.

“This is a massive effort and we have first-rate workers who are committed to return power to customers as soon as possible,” he said.

Post-tropical storm Arthur is responsible for the largest blackout in New Brunswick’s history, according to NB Power.

The storm brought strong winds and heavy rain. The strongest winds were recorded in Fredericton, where gusts hit 100 km/h.

All of New Brunswick received heavy rainfall. St. Stephen, in the southwestern part of the province, received 143 millimetres of rain on Saturday — the highest amount of rain from the storm recorded in the Maritimes.

Other communities that had significant highest rainfall amounts on Saturday include:
  • Noonan, N.B., 140 mm.
  • Millville, N.B.: 127 mm.
  • Miramichi, N.B.: 122 mm.
Many municipalities are trying to help citizens, who have been without power for several days.
Fredericton will open the Grant-Harvey Centre and Willie O’Ree Place on Monday, and they will be used as charging stations. Shower facilities will also be available at the arenas.


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