Storm Arthur: NSP CEO Bob Hanf apologizes for communications gaffe

The CEO of Nova Scotia Power says the utility will review why their online outage centre and phone lines didn’t work during post-tropical storm Arthur.

Thousands still in dark on day 5

Dartmouth, N.S. residents examine a tree that toppled onto power lines by tropical storm Arthur on Saturday July 5, 2014. (Catherine Tutton/The Canadian Press)

The CEO of Nova Scotia Power says the utility will review why its online outage centre and phone lines didn’t work during post-tropical storm Arthur.

During the near-hurricane like winds on Saturday, customers complained it was impossible to report the outages or to get an estimate as to when the lights would come back on.

The phone lines were jammed and some people were greeted by an automated recording instead of a person.

“For that I do apologize,” said Bob Hanf. “Once we have everyone restored, we'll begin a review to find out exactly what went wrong with our communications systems, our outage map, and we’ll correct those things.”

As of 3:30 p.m. AT on Wednesday, there were about 2,000 customers still without power.

The utility expects almost all customers will be reconnected on Wednesday, but a few might not get service again until Friday.

Nova Scotia Power's Bob Hanf says at the peak of post-tropical storm Arthur, about 200,000 customers lost power. (CBC)

“I understand the frustration that people are experiencing with the outage that we’ve had in this storm. This is a significant storm, it’s akin to Juan,” he said.

Hanf says they have about 95 per cent of customers who lost power back on the grid. He says at the peak about 200,000 customers lost power.

“I know that's cold comfort for those still without power,” he told reporters as crews worked on power lines behind him in the Annapolis Valley.

Hanf says restoration times are based on past scenarios and are an estimate.

“We need time to assess the damage,” he said.

Hanf defended Nova Scotia Power's restoration efforts saying the utility began running scenarios a week before the storm and took people off their holidays to prepare.

“We spent a great deal of money. In the last four years, we’ve spent $74 million over on top [of] the $60 million we spend every year storm hardening the system,” he said.

Nova Scotia Power says 163 crews are out working.

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