99% of Arthur power outages restored

NB Power has surpassed its goal of having 99 per cent of customers who lost power during post-tropical storm Arthur back online by Tuesday evening.

Fredericton giving away wood from downed trees

Crews are cleaning up a huge mess, 11 days after Arthur blew through New Brunswick. 2:09

NB Power has surpassed its goal of having 99 per cent of customers who lost power during post-tropical storm Arthur back online by Tuesday evening.

There are 765 customers still waiting for their electricity to be restored, as of about 10 p.m.

The target had been 1,400.

The bulk of the outages continue to be in the Fredericton area, with 662 outages Tuesday night, according to the utility's website.

There are also smaller outages in Woodstock, St. Stephen, Rothesay, Sussex and Grand Falls.

About 200,000 customers lost power during the course of the storm that swept through the province on July 5, causing record damage. At the peak, the storm knocked about 140,000 customers offline.

NB Power has not given a timeline for when the final one per cent of customers will get their power back. Those outages are mostly seasonal properties and those with structural damages or significant damage to utility infrastructure that will take longer to restore, officials have said.

Power crews head to Fredericton's Hanwell Road on Tuesday to repair lines and restore power to customers who were knocked offline during post-tropical storm Arthur on July 5. (Catherine Harrop/CBC)

As NB Power attempts to reconnect the last of its customers, the province's other electrical utility, Saint John Energy, had power fully restored more than a week ago.

About 3,500, or 10 per cent of Saint John Energy's customers were knocked offline during post-tropical storm Arthur.

All but 250 had been reconnected within 24 hours, said president and CEO Ray Robinson.

He says Saint John's electrical infrastructure helped.

"Probably about 150 of the 750 kilometres of line is underground. So in events like this, that's the great type of infrastructure to have," said Robinson.

"The other side of that coin though, when that comes to the end of its life, it's pretty expensive to replace. We're paying for it one way or the other. But it really helps with minimizing customer outages."

Many of the overhead conductors in the city also have a covering that helps insulate them when trees fall on them, he said.

Saint John Energy also conducts tree trimming twice a year to clear excess branches from lines.

NB Power president and CEO Gaëtan Thomas has said the utility is “open to any review.” But he stressed the feedback that he’s been getting from customers is “more positive than negative.”

Free hardwood

Meanwhile Fredericton crews are working through a backlog of downed trees. The crews are chipping them, but also offering them to anyone who wants some poplar, ash, oak, beech or linden wood. 

Don Murray, head of the city's parks and trees department, said he's been working more or less straight since the storm hit. 

"I had my list of employees, and I started calling everyone to get them in, because I knew the gusts were higher than forecast, and as soon as we started getting gusts in the 70s and 80s, I knew we were in trouble," he said Tuesday. 

Peter Wilkes picked up some ash to make end tables. "I'm going to take it a friend and have him mill it up," he said. "I know there are a lot of people who should come by here, if they are furniture makers or wood workers. It's a great place, as opposed to seeing this stuff go all rotten."