Nova Scotia Power outages to continue until Tuesday for some

Thousands of Nova Scotians have finally had their electricity restored after Friday's snowstorm, but for some of the hardest hit areas, people may have to wait until Tuesday before their lights turn back on.

Some may have to wait until 11:30 p.m. Sunday before electricity is restored

Power line technician Scott Leyte working overnight to try and restore power in New Glasgow. (Harold MacLeod/Nova Scotia Power)

Thousands of Nova Scotians have finally had their electricity restored after Friday's snowstorm, but for some of the hardest hit areas, people may have to wait until Tuesday before their lights turn back on. 

As of 9:00 p.m. Sunday, 2,526 power customers were waiting to be reconnected. 

Through the day, the number of outages fluctuated. Bev Ware, a spokeswoman for Nova Scotia Power, says new outages were caused by "storm-weakened trees falling onto lines." 

She says restoring service to people who lost power Friday and Saturday is the priority. 

But Sunday night, the power company conceded that the remaining outages will take time to fix. 

"We are sorry that we were unable to complete the restorations as quickly as we thought we could," said Paul Casey, NS Power storm lead, in a statement. "We have all of our resources on this, and more than 100 crews from New Brunswick. 

We won't stop working until every customer is back on."

All hands on deck

About 300 power line technicians and dozens of tree trimming crews have been dispatched to fix utility lines.  

The heavy, wet snow has felled trees along roads and interfered with crews getting to problem areas, Ware says. Two helicopters are assessing damage in the heaviest-hit areas.

Nova Scotia Power Bev Ware says heavy snow has snapped some utility poles and continues to push trees onto power lines. (CBC)

Nova Scotia Power tree-trimming crews, engineers, electricians and damage assessors were all working to restore the power. 

"This is an all-team effort," Ware said. "In a few cases that snow has been so heavy that it's broken some poles and lines have come down but in the vast majority of cases it's trees coming onto the lines."

Some homes and businesses have been without electricity since Friday evening.

The affected areas include parts of Sydney, Antigonish, Goshen, Sheet Harbour and Stellarton.  

Several communities have opened up warming stations. The Cape Breton municipality set up stations in Glace Bay, Scotchtown, and Southside Boularderie Sunday for people still waiting for electricity.

The Sheet Harbour Lion's Centre opened Sunday, as a comfort centre at the Ross Ferry Fire Hall.

Phone outages

Many households are without phone service because of the storm. In a recorded message on its helpline, Eastlink confirmed it has outages in a number of areas in the province including the Annapolis Valley, New Glasgow, Antigonish and Cape Breton.

Dr. Maurice Strasfeld, an on-call doctor and resident of New Glasgow, says he's been without a phone since Saturday morning. 

"I do have a cell phone but I happen to be in a poor reception area and there are even rooms in my house where I don't get reception," said Strasfeld.

"So the hospital, if they try to contact me, may or may not be able to get through to me," he said.

Strasfeld says he's been calling Eastlink to find out when service will be reconnected because he is concerned about anyone left without communication. He says he feels like Eastlink has not communicated well with its customers because representatives have not been able to tell him what is happening to fix the problem and how long it will take.

Hospitals' electricity restored

The Nova Scotia Health Authority says electricity is back on in hospitals and health centres in Antigonish, the Strait area, Guysborough and Cape Breton. The facilities had been operating on back-up generator power.

At the peak of the outage following Friday's storm about 67,000 homes and businesses were without electricity.


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