Nova Scotia Power says outages might not be restored until Friday

Nova Scotia Power is backing away from its previous statement that power would be restored by 11:30 p.m. Thursday.

'We have a couple situations that are very complex,' says company president

Margaret Stewart, right, is unhappy with Nova Scotia Power because she says the company didn't call her to tell her that an electrical wire that was sitting on top of her car had electricity running through it. (Richard Cuthbertson/CBC)

Nova Scotia Power is backing away from its previous statement that power would be restored by 11:30 p.m. Thursday.

As of 10:35 p.m., there were 66 Nova Scotia Power customers affected by 24 outages.

This isn't the first time the company has changed its restoration timeline. It had previously estimated power would be restored by noon Wednesday.

"We have a couple of situations that are very complex in remote locations that may push us into tomorrow morning," said Karen Hutt, the president and CEO of Nova Scotia Power.

She said the company has notified the customers who likely won't see power until tomorrow morning.

The company's priority has been to fix the larger outages and now it's getting to the smaller ones, which have suffered more damage than anticipated.

Evan Dahl shows off his cat's frozen water. (Richard Cuthbertson/CBC)

Evan Dahl of Back Centre, N.S., which is just outside Lunenburg, said he's worried about frozen pipes in his home. His home is so cold that an icicle has formed from the water tap and his cat's water bowl started to freeze seconds after he added water to it.

"It's pretty cold when that's happening," he said.

The cold temperatures, combined with strong westerly winds, mean it's going to feel colder than –20 C across most of Nova Scotia on Thursday, with wind chill values dropping down into the –30 range.

The cold weather is expected to stick around through the weekend.

'Scared me to death'

Margaret Stewart of Hebbs Cross on Nova Scotia's South Shore had her power restored Thursday and isn't happy with how Nova Scotia Power responded to the situation. On Christmas Day, she lost power at around 4:30 p.m., and at 7:30 p.m. she heard a huge bang.

"The tree and the wires, everything, was laying over our vehicles in the yard and it scared me to death," she said.

Stewart immediately phoned Nova Scotia Power to notify the company.

Tim Brooks fetches some water from a brook near his home in Lilydale, N.S. (CBC)

She said that electricity in the area was later fixed, but no one told her about it.

"The power went on, the wires went live and we didn't know it because I trusted NS Power," she said, noting that her brother had touched the lines at one point because he didn't think electricity was running through them.

Hutt said she hopes that experience is an exception. She said when people are concerned about their personal safety, they should call 911 as those calls are immediately flagged to Nova Scotia Power and crews are dispatched immediately.

Lacking fresh water

Tim Brooks lives on a dirt road that has four homes on it in Lilydale on Nova Scotia's South Shore. He hasn't had power since Christmas Day at 4 p.m.

Brooks said the lack of water is the biggest inconvenience. He's been using a bucket to get water from a nearby creek, but with the frigid temperatures, the creek has been turning into ice and he's worried it will soon freeze over.

Damaged power lines are seen in Dartmouth on Tuesday. (Andrew Vaughan/Canadian Press)

With two kids and a spouse, Brooks said his family needs water, especially for the toilets.

At the height of the outages, there were about 158,000 customers affected after a Christmas Day storm brought strong winds to the province. 

The highest concentration of outages is along the South Shore. Winds across Nova Scotia reached 110 km/h during the storm.

Strong winds toppled a large tree on gravestones at the Camphill Cemetery in Halifax. (CBC)

Nova Scotia Power said it has about 450 people helping to restore service and 250 other workers on duty, including customer service staff. 

Power crews from across the Maritimes have come to Nova Scotia to help, the company said, and include power-line technicians, tree trimmers and damage assessors.

Phone service affected

In addition to power outages, there were also about 150 Bell Aliant customers without phone service following the storm. Crews were out with generators on Wednesday afternoon to reconnect those customers. 

About 100 Eastlink customers are still cut off from the internet and other services. Company spokesperson Jill Laing said most of the customers are in areas where there were power outages and technicians are working on restoring service.

Paul Mason, executive director of the province's Emergency Management Office, cautioned residents to be careful using alternative sources of heat and power such as generators, kerosene and wood stoves, due to the danger posed by carbon monoxide.

Warming centres

The following four Nova Scotia Power payment depots are being used as warming centres:

  • 261 Ohio Rd. in Shelburne.
  • 96 Valley Rd. in Chester.
  • 3 Calkin Dr. in Kentville.
  • 26 Bridge Ave. in Stellarton.

The centres opened at 8 a.m. on Thursday.

Flights and ferries

Many flights travelling to or from Halifax Stanfield International Airport on Thursday are delayed, plus there are some cancellations.

Marine Atlantic cancelled its Thursday morning crossings between Port aux Basques, N.L., and North Sydney, N.S. The crossings are rescheduled for Thursday evening, but Marine Atlantic warns that those too could be cancelled.

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