NB Power defends reconnection time after flash storm

NB Power says it did its best to restore power to customers quickly after a flash storm earlier this week, despite complaints from some people in Fredericton that they had no electricity for more than 15 hours.

Some people in Fredericton complained they had no power for more than 15 hours on Tuesday

This tree at 193 Edinburgh St. in Fredericton was one of numerous casualties in Tuesday's flash wind and rain storm. (Catherine Harrop/CBC)

NB Power says it did its best to restore power to customers quickly after a flash storm hit several parts of the province earlier this week.

Meghan Gerrish, a NB Power spokesperson, says there were 23 crews in Fredericton that worked through Tuesday and into Wednesday, with additional support from tree trimming crews.

Some people in Fredericton have complained they had no electricity for more than 15 hours.

Gerrish says it's highly complex to restore power in that type of situation.

"First, in order to get the crew to the location, they've got to remove trees and debris and so that takes time," she said.

"As well as, you know, you're dealing with electricity, in the dark, by times, and it's complex to remove these branches off the wires, and get the wires sorted out, and get it all repaired. It's challenging and it takes a lot of diligence because our number one priority is to get that done safely."

It was a small, but mighty wind and rain storm on Tuesday that seemed to take just about everyone by surprise.

The power outages peaked at 6,000 customers in the dark.

Fredericton was the hardest hit with outages, but the high winds also took out power in parts of Woodstock, Grand Falls and Sussex.

Strive to improve

"As the climate changes and as we encounter more of these extreme events, it's hard to predict when they're going to come, our job is to be prepared and to be as quick and as safe as possible," said Gerrish.

The utility hopes to reduce its reconnection times through positioning crews in the right places and preventative tree trimming, she said.

"We're fortunate in New Brunswick to have this high, vast tree coverage, which presents some issues for us and we have to maintain by trimming trees and as much as we can keep the trees back from the lines will ensure our system's integrity," she said.

Customers can help, said Gerrish, by letting NB Power know when trees on their properties are getting close to the lines.