Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia Power's reliability debated in Sydney

Residents in Sydney had their say with Nova Scotia Power officials on Tuesday night as part of a series of public consultations on the utility's reliability.

Residents in Sydney had their say with Nova Scotia Power officials on Tuesday night as part of a series of public consultations on the utility's reliability.

Eight committees have been established across the province to help determine local priorities for the utility. Tuesday's meeting — which was open to the public — was the first for the committee established in the Cape Breton Regional Municipality.

David MacDonald, who lives in Mira, told the group there are issues with the number of power outages in his area.

"I thought it was from lack of maintenance," he said Tuesday.

"They're not maintaining the line and they're going down. They don't have the staff to look after this."

Deputy Mayor Clarence Prince, who represented the municipality at the meeting, said the creation of the committee was a good start.

"I think they're spending millions of dollars on it and they're trying to alleviate or eliminate the concerns of the citizens," he said.

"I still think they have a long way to go."

Rob Bennett, the president of Nova Scotia Power, said the utility is spending $60 million a year on system improvements such as equipment upgrades and other measures to strengthen the transmission and distribution system.

He said workers are moving power lines to make them more accessible and cutting trees that may cause power outages in the future by growing into the lines.

Bennett said the regional committees will meet twice a year to evaluate how those changes are working to keep the lights on.

"The most significant aspect of it for us as a company is the opportunity to meet face to face with our customers, talk about where we've gotten to with reliability improvements, hear their concerns, hear their ideas and open the door to further conversation on issues even broader than reliability," he said.

"We're here to talk with our customers and our communities and I'm really grateful for the opportunity to listen."

The next committee will meet on Wednesday night in Port Hawkesbury.

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