Maritime Electric uses Facebook to update customers on power outages

Dave Stewart
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A Maritime Electric crew works to restore power in the Kensington area after Dec. 3, 2015 storm.

Maritime Electric is trying to do a better job of keeping the public updated when it comes to power outages.

The Island utility launched its new Facebook page on Saturday, a month earlier than planned, in response to the rain and snow weather event Thursday night that led to 22,000 customers losing power at one time or another since then.

As of 5 p.m. Monday, all but five customers had power restored.

Maritime Electric has been posting updates on power restoration as well as pictures of crews repairing damage and even video of a helicopter assessing the damage over the weekend.

“We were planning to launch our Facebook site in January but with this storm and the size of the storm, and not knowing how long it was going to be, we felt that it was really an important opportunity for us to get out there,’’ said Kim Griffin, manager of corporate communications for the utility.

“We had our crews submit photos where they were doing work to restore power . . . and we had to bring in a helicopter to do a visual inspection and we posted that on Facebook as well.’’

Maritime Electric has plans to expand its reach on social media to include Twitter as well.

“It was really important people get to see a picture of what it was like in some of those areas, the destruction (that resulted) from the storm.’’

Some residents think their communities could have done a better job helping out.

Al Croken of Emerald Junction said there was no power at his house for 36 hours.

He said there were parents with young children in the area who had to leave and stay with family.

“As far as the guys with (Maritime) Electric, they did a fantastic job,’’ Croken said.

Croken said everyone is lucky it wasn’t colder outside.

Kathy Birt of Mount Stewart, a senior whose power was out 37 hours, stayed with a friend in Stratford.

“I was very grateful to have a place to stay,’’ Birt said, adding that people have to be able to take things in stride. “I probably had more laughs staying over at Pat’s place than I would have by myself at home. We were like (television’s) The Golden Girls.’’

P.E.I.’s Emergency Measures Organization has a duty officer available around the clock to respond to requests for emergency assistance.

However, EMO did not receive any requests for help from either municipalities or individuals.

dstewart@theguardian.pe.ca

Twitter.com/DveStewart

Organizations: Maritime Electric, Emergency Measures Organization, Golden Girls

Geographic location: Iceland, Mount Stewart, Stratford

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