National News

Nova Scotia power back, one week post-Arthur

By Geordon Omand, The Canadian Press

HALIFAX - Power has been restored to the remaining homes and businesses in Nova Scotia affected by a powerful post-tropical storm, but thousands of New Brunswickers remained without power more than a week after the system hit the Maritimes.

Nova Scotia Power said it reconnected the final 500 customers late Saturday night.

"There are a few customers who need to have work done by an electrician before we can put their power back on," said spokeswoman Stacey Pineau. "But as soon as they get that work done and contact us we'll be able to restore their power as well."

Post-tropical storm Arthur made landfall in Atlantic Canada on July 5, downing trees and causing power outages across the region.

About 250,000 customers were without power at the height of the outages. Most of those affected in Nova Scotia were concentrated in the western parts of the province and on the South Shore.

New Brunswick suffered the brunt of the flooding, with rainfall levels peaking in the province's south at more than 140 millimetres.

Fewer than 6,000 customers in New Brunswick were still in the dark as of Sunday evening, mostly in and around Fredericton. The number of affected customers peaked at 140,000 in storm's immediate aftermath.

By Sunday evening, New Brunswick Power had restored power to more than 95 per cent of affected customers, said spokesman Bob Scott.

"We're certainly heading in the proper direction," Scott said, adding the utility aimed to hit the 99-per-cent mark by Tuesday.

Scott recommended people stay clear of any downed power lines or infrastructure, stressing the danger of attempting to remove vegetation or trees that may be in contact with live wires.

More than 300 crews were on the ground in the province on Sunday working to restore outages.

Pineau said Sunday that Nova Scotia Power had released contractor crews from New Brunswick and workers from Maine, who would be available to assist New Brunswick Power. Pineau added that Nova Scotia Power would offer off-road equipment, materials and supplies to restoration efforts in New Brunswick.

On Friday, Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil called the provincial power utility's response to the post-tropical storm "inexcusable" and ordered the Utility and Review Board to look into how Nova Scotia Power responded to the outages.

Nova Scotia Power CEO Bob Hanf said in a statement on Friday he welcomed the public review of the company's storm preparedness.

Earlier in the week, Hanf apologized for problems the company had communicating estimated restoration times to its customers through its website and call centre.

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