Tens of thousands in Maritimes still without power after Arthur struck region

Maritime Electric reports 130 customers still waiting for electricity after Saturday's storm

The Canadian Press
Published on July 7, 2014

Not all the damage was at the Charlottetown Yacht Club. This large tree on Richmond Street came down across power lines knocking out power to some homes in the area

©Guardian photo by Brian McInnis

Tens of thousands of people are still without power in the Maritimes today as the cleanup following post-tropical storm Arthur continued.

Maritime Electric's latest report still had 130 customers without power as of noon Monday. The affected customers are in Alexandra, Avondale, Bellevue, Bonshaw and Brackley.

About 86,000 customers of the utility in New Brunswick were still without electricity late Monday morning, while Nova Scotia Power said more than 40,000 of its customers didn’t have power, although the utilities were restoring outages in both provinces.

All New Brunswick government offices in the Fredericton area were closed due to the cleanup and power outages caused by the storm. The city was among the hardest hit areas over the weekend.

Arthur lost its hurricane status just before hitting the Maritimes, but it still packed a brutal punch, with drenching rain and winds that toppled trees and knocked out power for more than 250,000 customers.

NB Power spokesman Meghan Gerrish said more than 200 crews were working to restore power Monday, including teams from Quebec and others headed to New Brunswick from Maine.

Gerrish said the utility expected to have the bulk of the 86,000 without power back online by Wednesday night, but roughly 17,000 customers would have to wait until the weekend.

“The damage that this post-tropical storm Arthur has left in New Brunswick is phenomenal,” said Gerrish.

“There’s huge century-old trees — like you can’t get your arms around them — down on our infrastructure and ... there’s a significant amount of work that has to take place to even get to some of these locations.”

Gerrish said parts of the utility’s 7,000-kilometres of transmission lines have also been damaged. She said helicopters have been flying over the lines to try and find the damaged spots.

“We’re working as fast as we can to get everybody back online,” she said.

Wayne Tallon, a spokesman the City of Fredericton, said it will take weeks to clean up downed trees in the city.

“I’ve been talking to some of our folks that have been around for 40 years and nobody’s ever seen anything this bad,” said Tallon.

Tallon said about 2,000 trees were damaged during the storm. The city normally takes down about 420 trees a year, he said.

A charging station and shower centre was open Monday in the city as about 40,000 started their week without electricity.

Fredericton was also working to set up generators at intersections to control traffic lights.

Tallon said fire crews responded to more than 300 reports of electrical fires on Saturday, most related to downed trees on power lines.