HALIFAX – Thousands of homeowners and businesses remained without power Saturday in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia one week after a powerful post-tropical storm swept through the region.
Most of the outages were in New Brunswick, where more than 12,000 customers were without power as of 1 p.m.
NB Power spokesman Bob Scott said the utility hoped to have the vast majority of customers in the province reconnected Sunday.
“We’re certainly heading in the proper direction,” he said, adding that 315 crews were on the ground.
“The most important thing of all is that we’re doing this in a very safe manner because that’s the way it has to be done.”
More than half of the outages were in and around the capital city of Fredericton.
“There are a lot of huge trees down in Fredericton,” said Scott. “Trees falling on trees … falling on lines, all tangled up and in backlots in some cases.”
In Nova Scotia, the number of customers without power dwindled to about 500 overnight.
Nova Scotia Power spokeswoman Stacey Pineau said 190 crews were trying to get the final customers back on the grid.
“We would expect the large majority reconnected by the end of the day,” said Pineau.
She said it could be late Sunday before power is restored to a few properties in isolated areas, mostly cottages.
Premier Stephen McNeil said Friday that Nova Scotia Power’s response to post-tropical storm Arthur was “inexcusable.”
He said the province’s Utility and Review Board will look into how the utility responded to the outages, including storm preparedness, the utility’s staffing levels, vegetation management, communications and the state of transmission and distribution infrastructure.
Earlier this week, Nova Scotia Power CEO Bob Hanf apologized for problems the company had communicating estimated restoration times to its customers through its website and call centre.
Hanf issued a statement Friday welcoming the review.
“We always review our performance after every significant storm and look for lessons we can learn to perform better,” he said. “With a major storm like Arthur, a review process with the Utility and Review Board is appropriate, given the impact of the storm and the number of Nova Scotians who were affected.”
Arthur knocked out power to more than 250,000 customers at the height of the storm.