Stephen McNeil calls Nova Scotia Power’s Arthur response ‘ridiculous’

Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil says he doesn't accept the power utility’s excuse that an inaccurate weather forecast for part of the province led to prolonged power outages following post-tropical storm Arthur.

245,000 people were without electricity

Post-tropical storm Arthur brought high winds, which toppled many trees around Nova Scotia. (Molly Segal/CBC)

Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil said he doesn't accept the power utility’s excuse that an inaccurate weather forecast for part of the province led to prolonged power outages following post-tropical storm Arthur.

Arthur tore through the southwest part of the province, ripping out trees and power lines six weeks ago. At one point, more than 245,000 people were without electricity. It took Nova Scotia Power a week to restore service to everyone.

After the storm and public backlash, the Utility and Review Board demanded an explanation from Nova Scotia Power, which the power company filed Tuesday afternoon.

In the report, Nova Scotia Power blames prolonged and widespread outages on inaccurate weather forecasting and property owners who resisted trimming trees.

"It’s a ridiculous statement in any way trying to blame the weatherman," said McNeil.

"The fact is, the response was not good enough. The way that they responded to the concerns Nova Scotians had wasn’t good enough."

The premier also acknowledges the government’s role in the storm.

"I would also say the government's response wasn’t good enough when it came to EMO, and EMO’s response needs to be different, in my view, going forward."

Nova Scotia Power was critical of the Emergency Management Office for not setting up a joint operations centre to co-ordinate the response from government.

At one point, the power company dispatched over-worked crews to clear roads the Department of Transportation had already reopened.

McNeil said the province will submit its own post-storm analysis to the regulator.