Calgary

Calgary snow: Electricians needed to fix power outages after storm

Some Calgarians who lost power in this week’s snowstorm are discovering that getting it back isn’t as simple as calling the utility company.

Utility company needs homeowners to get damaged lines on property fixed before power can be restored

Some Calgary homeowners who lost power in this week's snowstorm are discovering that they must first contract a private electrician to fix damaged lines on their properties before Enmax will come and re-energize. (Jenaya King/Facebook)

Some Calgarians who lost power in this week’s snowstorm are discovering that getting it back isn’t as simple as calling the utility company.

Enmax says that if the storm knocked out the connection between a home and the power line — known as the “service masthead” — it's up to the homeowner to hire an electrician to get it fixed.

One southwest Calgary resident says she will be in the cold and dark for a week as she waits for repairs to her power supply. (Jenaya King/Facebook)

“We cannot safely re-energize that property until that damage has been fixed,” said Enmax spokeswoman Doris Kaufmann Woodcock.

Southwest Calgary homeowner Jenaya King says she wishes the city utility had told her right away that the work was her responsibility so she could have called an electrician sooner.

“I got a call from my electrician and he said that he couldn’t get to my house for a whole week. So now I’m left in the dark, in the cold for a whole week, or until I find another electrician,” she said.

Lake Bonavista resident Suzanne Wright, who has been without power since Tuesday, said it cost her $2,000 to have a certified electrician re-attach the power line at her house ahead of re-energizing by an Enmax crew.

'What if somebody doesn't have the money'

“What bothers me is, what if somebody doesn't have that money? What if you're renting or you've just bought yourself a new house? You don't have $2,000.”

Electricians say they've been inundated with calls from people trying to get their power back on.

Kaufmann Woodcock says the number of Calgarians left without power continues to drop, but it was at about 750 customers at last count. About half of the residences on the Tsuu T’ina Nation southwest of Calgary have also been reconnected after the electricity supply was disrupted on Wednesday — which prompted an Alberta Emergency Alert.

“We have made progress, particularly overnight,” she said.

Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi has said it will also take some time to clear away the broken tree branches scattered on roads and sidewalks around the city.

Seniors and others who need help cleaning up their properties are being asked to call 311 for assistance.

Southwest Calgary resident Jenaya King says she has 11 trees on her property, and many of them saw widespread damage. (Jenaya King/Facebook)

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