Charlottetown working on emergency plan for 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.

A plan is in the works that could see emergency shelters open in Charlottetown during extreme weather events.

Mayor Clifford Lee has asked the city's fire chief, Randy MacDonald, to look into the cost of generators and to develop a protocol with Maritime Electric that would see the utility inform the city corporation immediately when power goes out in any part of the capital.

MacDonald is also the city's director of emergency measures.

Those generators would be used to power the city's community buildings, such as those in neighbourhoods like Hillsborough Park, Sherwood, East Royalty and West Royalty.

It comes after a mixture of rain and snow began on the night of Dec. 3, resulting in widespread power outages across P.E.I. Some were without power well into the weekend.

"I'm aware of a seniors' building that had no heat for 21 hours and that, quite frankly in my mind, is unacceptable,'' Lee said.

"Right now, we're not even aware of when electricity is lost in our community. We need to become aware of the situation, when the situation occurs, not two to three days after the fact. We need to have a place where we can move people out of their homes and into these community centres.''

RELATED: Maritime Electric uses Facebook to update customers on power outages

So, he's asking MacDonald to prepare a report for city council with budget implications.

Right now there is no response. To me, that lack of response is unacceptable. Linda Jean Nicholson

That report could come to council within a couple of weeks.

A determination would have to be made before those shelters would be open.

Lee suggested extreme cold weather conditions would be right at the top of that list.

He praised the wisdom and foresight of officials at the CARI Complex for opening its doors during last week's weather event. People were welcome to take showers or simply charge their smartphones.

"They did that on their own (with) no encouragement from anybody.''

Linda Jean Nicholson, executive director of the P.E.I. Senior Citizens' Federation, thinks it's a great idea.

"I hope that they would have emergency numbers that are available because a lot of folks still have land lines,'' Nicholson said. "We'd want to be promoting that in the Voice for Island Seniors edition, reminding people that they should have one of those even if they don't use it.''

Lee said the city needs to do a better job of taking care of people in power outages.

"Right now there is no response. To me, that lack of response is unacceptable.''

Organizations: Maritime Electric, Senior Citizens

Geographic location: Charlottetown, Hillsborough Park, West Royalty

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Recent comments

  • better late than never
    December 15, 2015 - 09:51

    Charlottetown is finally developing an emergency shelter plan. Because it's 2015....