Many Islanders likely to remain in the dark through weekend

Maritime Electric has about 200 crews from across the country trying to restore power for customers without — but some will remain in the dark through the weekend.

About 34,000 Maritime Electric customers still without power since Fiona

Power crews working near Montague. (Alexandre Silberman/CBC)

CBC P.E.I. continues to focus on the aftermath of Fiona. If your data or internet is limited, click here for the CBC Lite version of the P.E.I. site.

Maritime Electric has about 200 crews from across the country trying to restore power for customers without — but some will remain in the dark through the weekend.

According to the Maritime Electric Outage Map roughly 34,000 customers were still without power as of 5 p.m on Friday.

Some power restoration is likely to continue into Sunday and Monday in some areas, said Kim Griffin, spokesperson for Maritime Electric during a media briefing on Friday afternoon. And some will take longer.

"We're sorry about that, but we are working very hard," she said.

From then to now, Fiona's historic hammering of Prince Edward Island

2 months ago
Duration 3:08
A look back at the initial moments of Fiona and the aftermath of what many have called the worst storm in Island history.

"Depending on your area there may be some areas that are still hit pretty hard, but we also want to make sure that you and your community know and can plan ... these are major pockets that we still don't think we are going to have on over the next couple of days."

These communities include:

  • East Point to Souris
  • Cardigan North
  • Launching
  • Primrose
  • Elmira
  • Northside Road
  • Cape Bear
  • Covehead
  • Brackley
  • Stragharthey
  • York Point Road
  • Cornwall
  • Ferry Road
  • Parts of Charlottetown
  • Murray Harbour
  • Murray River
  • Stanley Bridge
  • Pownal
  • Tea Hill
  • East Royalty
  • Morell

"Of these communities we have pockets we know are not going to be on or are going to need assistance," Griffin said.

Maritime Electric is working with the province to ensure warming centres are established for as long as they are needed in communities with no power, Griffin said.

Military on P.E.I. to assist with post-Fiona recovery

2 months ago
Duration 2:16
Members of the Canadian Armed Forces arrived on P.E.I. this week to help provincial crews with Fiona cleanup efforts. CBC's Brian Higgins spoke with some of the personnel on the ground.

Power restored to 47,000 customers

Griffin said since the storm hit the Island last weekend and power was knocked out to virtually every Maritime Electric customer, the utility has been able to get power back to about 47,000 customers, including:

  • 75 per cent of customers in western P.E.I.
  • 60 per cent of some parts of customers in Charlottetown, West Royalty and around UPEI.
  • 42 per cent of customers in the downtown Charlottetown area.
  • 45 per cent of customers "down east."

She said on Friday, crews also made progress in "parts of Cardigan, large areas in Vernon River and Montague to St. Peters Road. Brush Wharf Road. Three subdivisions in Stratford, parts of West Royalty and the May Point area."

She said power was also restored Friday to about 20 per cent more of customers in the Tignish area, and work on the North River Causeway, where several utility poles fell, was expected to be done by Friday night.

Power crews in Charlottetown pictured on Kirkdale Road
Power crews in Charlottetown work on restoring power on Kirkdale Road. (Alexandre Silberman/CBC)

"Work continues to address the high priority customers in each district," Griffin said. "These include farms, customers, businesses, medical centres, gas stations, schools, seniors homes — they are not all done yet."

The target for Maritime Electric is to have power restored for about 6,500 more customers across the Island by the end of the day Friday.

"The 531 poles I have been reporting and speaking about for the last 24 hours are being restored steadily," Griffin said.

About 1052 customer masts are broken, Griffin said.

"As we get those communities back on, our next phase is individual outages all across Prince Edward Island. Some of this work will require help from outside electricians."

Maritime Electric is steadily replacing downed poles, says utility spokesperson Kim Griffin. (Anthony Davis/CBC)

Waiting for power

In Montague, Rodney Smith has been busy cleaning up the mess from Fiona and waiting for power. He's worried downed trees could extend that wait even longer. He's hoping a propped up ladder will protect the line running to his house in Montague.

'I'm just presuming it's going to be off for at least a couple of weeks,' says Rodney Smith. (Alexandre Silberman/CBC)

"It's basically just holding those two trees in place right now, to keep the pressure off the line."

Smith and his wife don't own a generator which means they have no running water, so they're buying cases of bottled water and charging devices at local businesses.

"I'm just presuming it's going to be off for at least a couple of weeks, and hopefully I'll be delightfully surprised if it comes on sooner."

Ray and Colleen Grant are trying to clear more than 75 large spruce trees from their property in Montague and say it's going to take a long time. 'We're not young people, and we can't do half as much as we were once able to do.' (CBC)

Ray and Colleen Grant are also among those without power. And after seven days of hard work, they still have a lot to do.

Ray said together they're trying to clear "75-plus large spruce trees that are down" on their property.

"It's going to take quite a while," he said. "A month, maybe six weeks or more."

The Grants said they're fortunate in that they do have a generator, good neighbours and their house and vehicles were spared damage in the storm, but they wouldn't mind some help with the tree clearing.

"We're not young people, and we can't do half as much as we were once able to do."

P.E.I. grocery store becomes community hub after Fiona

2 months ago
Duration 7:36
P.E.I. business owner Keith Gallant supplies residents with food and gas at his store in Rustico during the power outage after post-tropical storm Fiona.

More crews and forces coming

When post-tropical storm Doiran hit some were left without power for 10 to 11 days, Griffin said, and she will have a better idea if that will be the same case with Fiona on Sunday.

Access P.E.I. centres will be open Saturday morning to assist Islanders who still don't have electricity.

Griffin said more crews from across the country are headed to the Island to help with restoration.

P.E.I. Premier Dennis King said he's asked Ottawa for additional help from the Canadian Armed Forces, adding members helping clear roads and aid utility workers are a "godsend."

With files from Island Morning


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