Some on P.E.I. will be without power all week following Dorian

Restoring power to Prince Edward Islanders is going steadily but slowly, says Maritime Electric CEO John Gaudet.

Helicopter back in the air Monday

Crews work to repair an internet line on Hwy. 2 near Wellington on Monday. (Laura Meader/CBC)

Restoring power to Prince Edward Islanders is going steadily but slowly, says Maritime Electric CEO John Gaudet.

P.E.I.'s main power utility is still trying to assess the full extent of the damage from post-tropical storm Dorian, which swept over the Island during the weekend.

"We are making progress but it's slow going," said Gaudet at a provincial emergency information session streamed on Facebook Live.

"We're predicting that some of our customers will be out to the end of the week."

At 6:30 a.m. the Maritime Electric website was reporting almost 22,000 customers without power, and at 6 p.m. that was down below 20,000. At peak, at about 8:30 a.m. Sunday, power was out to about 62,000.

  • See a full list of cancellations on Storm Centre
  • Call in your cancellations to 1-877-236-9350

Provincial officials noted there were no reported deaths and no damage to critical infrastructure. There were two fires connected to the storm, both caused by improper generator use.

Premier Dennis King said he had been on the phone to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who expressed his concern.

"We talked about the possibility of what happens next in terms of funding if it's required. What we've agreed upon is let's take the next few days to find out what the full extent of the damage of things is," said King.

He said Trudeau told him help would be there if needed.

Maritime Electric crews are making repairs where they can, while the utility is still assessing the full extent of the damage. (Paul Legere/Radio Canada)

Bell Aliant said power outages have impacted wireless cell sites and other communications facilities across P.E.I.

"Bell wireless sites are equipped with battery back-up power systems and if required our teams activate generators to keep individual sites up and running if electrical grid power has not yet been restored. We are working closely with Maritime Electric to get full power restored to affected sites as soon as possible," Bell Aliant spokesperson Katie Hatfield said in an email.

Public schools were closed Monday and some government offices delayed opening.

Provincial offices delayed opening until noon. Offices in the following areas remain closed, because there is no electricity.

  • Hunter River.
  • Rustico.
  • Crapaud.
  • Kensington.
  • The Royalty Centre.
  • Prince County, west of Summerside.

The decision to close schools was made on Sunday.

"We were hopeful that things would be improving but we didn't have any assurances and we wanted to give people as much notice as we possibly could, so they could prepare and plan," said Public Schools Branch director Parker Grimmer.

There was extensive damage in parts of P.E.I. National Park following tropical storm Dorian in 2019 (P.E.I. National Park)

"We couldn't assure the safety of students and staff either getting to and from the school or in the schools."

Grimmer said initially there does not appear to be any serious damage to schools. There will be further assessments during the day, and a decision will be made then about whether to open schools Tuesday.

Many schools still do not have electricity.

Maritime Electric spokesperson Kim Griffin said the company had a look at the damage from the air Sunday and it was worse than expected.

"We had a helicopter patrolling yesterday. The plan was to do the whole Island," said Maritime Electric spokesperson Kim Griffin.

"We were up for approximately five hours. We were only able to do parts of the Island because we found so much damage."

Downed trees were blocking roads in addition to taking out power lines. (Paul Legere/Radio-Canada)

Some of that damage was in areas so remote that crews will have to do some cutting to even get access to the site. Griffin said it could be Wednesday before the utility can start to work on smaller outages.

Summerside Electric is reporting it's been able to repair the circuits that feed the city's power, but about 15 per cent of the utility's 7,000 customers do not have power. Officials say it could be a few days before the remaining thousand or so customers' power is restored.

Damage from Dorian was widespread.

There were heavy rains, with 90 millimetres in Summerside and 50 millimetres in Charlottetown.

Islanders will have a couple of days of fine weather for the cleanup. (Tom Steepe/CBC)

"There were pockets of higher amounts than that, but what was really impressive was across the Island winds were in excess of 90 km/h. The highest one that I saw was at North Cape at 122 km/h," said CBC meteorologist Tina Simpkin.

Simpkin said the weather should be good for cleaning up the next couple of days.

More P.E.I. news

With files from Island Morning


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