© Guardian photo
Maritime Electric crews are busy helping restore power in New Brunswick as thousands remain in the dark following a damaging ice storm.
The utility sent six crews of two across the Confederation Bridge Thursday morning in response to a request for assistance by NB Power.
Maritime Electric spokeswoman Kim Griffin says 12 line technicians from P.E.I. are working with other crews.
NB Power now says it could be Dec. 31 before electricity is restored to everyone in New Brunswick following a pre-Christmas ice storm.
The number of customers without electricity stood at about 17,000 at mid-morning, down from a peak of about 54,000 on Monday, but up about 1,000 from earlier in the day Friday.
But with many power lines entangled in a maze of frozen trees, and transportation made difficult by subsequent snowfall, NB Power has revised its original estimate of having everyone back on the grid by Dec. 28.
Griffin says the Maritime Electric crews are expected to remain in New Brunswick until early next week. However, they can be called back on short notice if need be.
“We have a pretty strong number of crew here already,’’ she adds.
Power utilities continue to restore electricity in homes and businesses across southern Ontario, Quebec and parts of the Maritimes after a crippling ice storm.
Griffin says Prince Edward Island dodged the bullet, experiencing only a handful of outages a day over the Christmas holidays, which is pretty standard this time of year.
“We were really fortunate,’’ she says.
“You never know with Mother Nature…we virtually got through the holidays with hardly any outages.’’
Maritime Electric will bill New Brunswick Power for the cost of providing the crews.