Nova Scotia Power customers in some eastern mainland and Cape Breton communities who lost power during Friday's winter storm may not be reconnected until late Sunday afternoon, the utility says.
"We're doing everything we can to restore every customer who's lost power by the end of Sunday," spokeswoman Sarah Dawson said Saturday afternoon.
"Of the customers who've lost power, we've restored power to more than 60 per cent."
At 6:30 p.m., there were 17,252 households and businesses in Sydney, Antigonish, Baddeck, Port Hawkesbury, Sheet Harbour, Stellarton, Windsor and surrounding areas waiting for the power to come back on.
At the peak of the outage, around 67,000 homes and businesses were cut off.
Extra crews brought in
NSP crews are getting help from 20 Emera Utility Services crews and 88 contract crews from New Brunswick, Dawson said.
"We're throwing every resource we have at this," she said.
Heavy, wet and deep snow has made it difficult to access some damaged areas and restore power to customers, she said.
"Eastern Nova Scotia and Cape Breton are where the vast majority of the outages are located and those are the biggest challenge areas to restoration," Dawson said.
"Some local roads are impassable there because they haven't yet been plowed. That's prevented our line crews from getting into those outage areas and in some areas, even getting damage assessment teams on site to determine damage there."
The power company has two helicopters in the air to try assess from the sky, she said.
- Cape Breton digs out after winter storm
- Fire destroys family home near Yarmouth during snowstorm
- Check for cancellations with CBC's Storm Centre
NSP will attempt to contact each customer whose estimated restoration time is moving from Saturday to Sunday.
People who have emergencies as a result of power loss should call 911, Dawson said.
Some people with medical needs are registered in the company's critical customer program and will be contacted about restoration times as priorities.
The municipality of Victoria County is operating a warming centre at Ross Ferry Fire Hall until 9 p.m. for warming, hot beverages and as a charging center for electronic devices.
There are warming centres at fire halls in Reserve Mines, Albert Bridge, Louisbourg, Florence, Glace Bay, Scotchtown and Sydney River until midnight Saturday. Those will open again Sunday morning if necessary.