Those who experienced an 11-day blackout from phones following post-tropical storm Arthur will not necessarily be getting rebates from their phone bills.

The monthly bill for a package from the two main providers of phone and internet service can run over $100 a month.

Kim Hunter, a mother of two in a rural area, went 11 days without a working phone. She thinks she should be getting some money back.

Kim Hunter

Kim Hunter, a mother of two in a rural area, went 11 days without a working phone after post-tropical storm Arthur. (CBC)

“It's an uneasy feeling knowing that if there's an emergency, you can't call anybody for help, you have to go look for it yourself,” she said. 

Hunter’s husband was away that weekend and hours after the power went out, her portable phones died. 

Within a day or two, she says she lost all connection with cellphones.

Now it looks like some customers will get rebates while others will not.

Rogers Communications said if customers contact them, they will offer some credit for the time services were out.

“This varies by customer so we ask that people contact us,” said a response from Rogers.

Bell Aliant replied: "…when dealing with a service issue resulting from environmental conditions beyond our control it is our practice to not provide compensation for phone service."

A lengthy phone blackout

Rogers and Bell Aliant rely on domestic power from the poles. When that goes out, the sites that keep areas of phones running draw from back-up batteries.

Power poles

Rogers and Bell Aliant rely on domestic power from the poles. When that goes out, the sites that keep areas of phones draw from back-up batteries. (CBC)

“Depending upon the site, it will last anywhere from eight to 12 to 14 hours on a battery back-up,” said Bell Aliant technician Darrin Dunphy. “And once the power is down for that long, the site will die.”

That’s when the diesel generators are rolled out.

They power the system while recharging the back-up batteries. 

Once the system is up, if there is no damage to the phone line, the telephone will work.