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Nearly 5,000 NB Power customers remain off the grid as Christmas Eve approaches


Nearly 5,000 NB Power customers were still off the grid early Saturday evening, with the race to reconnect households moving closer to Christmas Day.

The bulk of power outages remaining from Monday's wind storm are in Charlotte County, with smaller pockets around Fredericton and Woodstock.

Nearly 8,000 NB Power customers went to bed on Friday night without electricity.

Logan Binney began his fifth day without power in St. David Ridge near St. Stephen, N.B., with the hope of getting electricity back in time to host a Christmas Eve gathering.

Binney tempered his expectations on Saturday with the knowledge that just down the road remained an untouched tangled mess of branches, power lines, and utility poles.

"It just goes to show how much damage there is and how widespread it is," said Binney. "It's everywhere. The crews are coming from all over the place."

In a statement Saturday, NB Power said remaining outages would be some of the most difficult to address.

"Crews are encountering massive, uprooted trees, often several causing one outage impacting an individual customer," said the utility's statement. "Repairs for single outages often include removing trees and vegetation, replacing poles and equipment and restringing wires. In many cases, these repairs can take several hours and require many crews."

Throughout the day, restoration times on the NB Power outages website shifted from late Saturday to late Sunday. Some customers in particular locations weren't provided a restoration time at all, including Sebastian Rodas in St. Andrews.

"Hopefully by Christmas," said an optimistic Rodas. "We're just crossing our fingers that will be the case."

Rodas said people have been offering firewood to his family to help with heating.

"We just moved to town from Calgary, and all of our neighbours and the few people that we know in town have been extremely helpful and kind," said Rodas.

According to NB Power, more than 125,000 customers lost power at least once during the storm.

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