UPDATE: Pole fire plunges Prince Co into darkness

Wayne Thibodeau
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Just as the utility was about to turn the lights back on, one of their bucket trucks got stuck in the snow.

Maritime Electric

A major blackout plunged most of western Prince Edward Island into the dark Thursday evening for more than four hours.

The lights went out shortly after 5 p.m. Power was restored about 9:20 p.m.

Maritime Electric discovered the cause of the power outage was a pole fire in Miscouche.

But Kim Griffin, a spokeswoman with Maritime Electric, says the location of that pole, located along a main transmission line along the Confederation Trail, caused a delay in turning the lights back on.

"We obviously had to locate where it was, then clear the snow, then get the trucks in, then replace the full pole," Griffin said in an interview with The Guardian.

"It was a long night for our customers."

Nearly 11,000 Prince Edward Island homes from St. Eleanors to North Cape, at the western tip of the Island were without power.

However, Maritime Electric was able to reroute some power.

That meant homes between St. Eleanors and Slemon Park had their power restored within an hour.

However, that still left 10,000 homes without power.

Just as the utility was about to turn the lights back on, one of their bucket trucks got stuck in the snow.

"It was a long night for our customers," Kim Griffin, a spokeswoman with Maritime Electric

Two of Maritime Electric's other bucket trucks were behind it. That caused a further 20-minute delay in getting power restore.

"We estimated four hours. I always wonder whether to estimate or not. Things can always happen. But we knew that people were just getting home from work and would be trying to make supper."

Griffin said the cause of power outage is still being investigated, however Maritime Electric believes the stormy weather over the last two weeks weakened the system in the area and caused the pole to catch on fire.

"Over the last couple of weekends we had a lot of trees down, it could have been that. That could have weakened it."








Organizations: Maritime Electric

Geographic location: West Prince, Prince Edward Island, North Cape Slemon Park

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Recent comments

  • Ken W
    February 21, 2013 - 21:34

    Quick reporting, thanks for all the tweets also.

  • David
    February 21, 2013 - 20:55

    Nasa gave warning of a Solar Storm today, this power outage is likely a result of the Solar Flares that have been taking place over the past week.

  • single point of failure
    February 21, 2013 - 19:13

    Why does the electrical system west of Summerside rely on a single transmission line? Can there not be some sort of redundancy built into it so that it forms a loop? The rest of PEI does not have this vulnerability.

  • Yepper
    February 21, 2013 - 17:32

    Ghiz's fault, obviously.