A Maritime Electric truck makes its way down a Prince County road on Wednesday. Photo special to The Guardian.
As of mid-morning, there are still 70 Maritime Electric customers without power after the winter storm that hit Prince Edward Island earlier this week.
The individual outages are in the communities of Baltic, Darnley, Dunblane, East Bideford, Mount Pleasant, Norboro, O'Leary, Poplar Grove, Sea View, Spring Valley, Tignish and Tyne Valley.
A spokeswoman with Maritime Electric is comparing the latest mix of snow and freezing rain to the infamous ice storm that hit P.E.I. in January 2008.
Kim Griffin said the key difference between the 2008 ice storm and this one is that this one is far more widespread.
“We’ve seen problems from West Royalty to the (western) tip of the Island. The western end of the Island got hit harder from our perspective,’’ Griffin said Wednesday.
The 2008 storm, that hit hardest in the Fredericton area of the province, ended up costing the utility about $2 million. Griffin said it’s too early to say what this week’s storm will cost them.
“We have about 20 poles reported that are down, in O’Leary and Sea Cow Pond and some single poles that are down.’’
Some areas are not expected to back on before Friday.
“We have had exceptional issues and this is the first day of good weather for our crews and it’s helping, however, we have a lot of individual outages as well as communities. These individual outages take longer, to get to and to repair.’’
The expectation is to have the majority on by tonight although there may still be some individual outages into Friday.
Maritime Electric is double checking with some customers whose power has been restored due to the sheer amount of ice on the lines.
“We have 24 crews out on the road. For us, this storm is the worst that we’ve seen in many, many years. The challenges have been, hugely, accessibility, getting to our sites and then, secondly, the sheer amount of ice that’s been on our lines and on our system.’’
She said plow operators have been “amazing’’, guiding Maritime Electric trucks through some of the worst type of winter conditions.
“We had the crews off the road in Kensington for several hours. You couldn’t see a thing in front of the truck.’’
Griffin said it could be weeks before the utility will be able to estimate the cost of damage. It is using eight teams of technicians, who are going ahead of crews to assess the problem so it can be corrected much quicker.