Frustration running high for those without power in N.B.
Published Tuesday, November 6, 2018 9:39PM AST
Last Updated Tuesday, November 6, 2018 9:40PM AST
Frustration is running high in many areas of New Brunswick where the power is still not back on.
NB Power has 250 crews working to restore service but the utility says it is frustrated with trees and right-of-ways that prevent crews from getting to power lines.
“The lady across the street did contact them and they said it could be Thursday before we have power here,” said Alan Pollard of Fredericton.
That would mean six days without power for Pollard and his neighbours. In the middle of New Brunswick’s capital city, and with the temperature a balmy 8 C for November, it’s tough to understand.
“Unfortunately, we've lost three quarters of our fridge and our deep freeze,” Pollard said. “I did get my son's deer meat out. He had it stored there from last year. I took it to a friend's house.”
Those people have been powerless since a weekend wind storm that saw gusts over 100 km/h.
NB Power has a daunting task still ahead of it.
“We're really anticipating to get a great handle on the 18,000 that are left to be connected,” said NB Power spokesman Marc Belliveau.
They have 250 crews now on the ground, including some from Nova Scotia and Quebec with more on the way.
So why is it taking so long?
“We have an incredible amount of trees,” Belliveau said. “Not only in Fredericton, but in New Brunswick, is one of the most densely forested places in North America.”
Trees are trimmed so they're not touching power lines. It's called a "right of way.” But sometimes, it's clear, the right of way just isn't big enough.
“Should we be looking at increasing right of ways so that when a tree does fall, it doesn’t fall on our wires,” Belliveau said. “It's one of the things we have to talk to our stakeholders about moving forward, because it's unsustainable to have this much damage when really a little bit more right of way might make a difference.”
New Brunswick’s premier-designate Blaine Higgs has some empathy for the challenges NB Power faces.
“It seems like this is a tree event,” he said. “So I think what's going to happen is we start now looking more sincerely about here are the exposed areas, do you want us to cut this tree down?”
It’s a tough decision for some, especially in the city of 'stately elms.'
For those who'll be dark again tonight, officials are also looking into another situation: carbon monoxide poisoning.
“Whether it's a diesel generator or a gas generator, (they) produce considerable quantities of carbon monoxide,” said Michael Lewis, New Brunswick’s acting Fire Marshall. “We need to make sure that individuals that are using them are using them in a manner that doesn't put their families at risk.”
The hope is that these won't have to be used for much longer.
“You just deal with it,” said Pollard.“I understand, I've got some buddies that work for NB Power and I know they're working late nights and you know, hats off to these guys.”
Another late night for the hundreds working to get everyone back on the grid and the thousands who are still off it.
NB Power is reporting about 12,000 customers are still affected by this -
The utility spends $14 million on tree trimming every year. They say that's twice what they were spending four years ago - when Hurricane Arthur hit.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Laura Brown.