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LETTER: Lessons learned during Cape Breton power outage

Nova Scotia Power linemen making repairs.
Nova Scotia Power linemen making repairs in this stock image. CONTRIBUTED

In the midst of a COVID-19 quarantined lockdown, my wife and I found a way to recharge our batteries. We had a power outage. Now, when I say “we”, I really mean Nova Scotia Power had a power outage. We just enjoyed the many fringe benefits of their deficits.

We should have known this would happen when, during the construction of our new home, the utility representative indicated that “when your power goes out, it’s best to be on your own service line.” Not if, but when. From the very first day, we were warned that the power would go out. We just didn’t think it would happen on the first snowfall of the year.

Nevertheless, we had prepared for the inevitable. When we had heard about the snowstorm, we filled our tub with water, stocked up on cold cuts and buns, and fished out the flashlights and candles. (Batteries and matches were overlooked, however.)

Then we waited for the lights to go out on the Mira. We didn’t really notice the power outage for the first eight hours because we were sleeping. In the morning, however, we realized the power outage would be longer than we expected. How much longer? Well, according to the convenient app on our (Low Battery Warning!) iPhone updated by Nova Scotia Power, our electricity would be restored in only 12 more hours.

We were shocked at first. We were faced with a whole day without electrical appliances, TVs, computers, water heater, water pump. How would we survive?

We tried to look on the bright side. We looked forward to taking refuge in the simple things in life. We would spend our time reconnecting with our inner selves. Find the time to really get to know our loved ones. Only problem is that we discovered that we would need electricity to do any of that nonsense. It seems that we can really only appreciate our loved ones — and we are more appreciated by our loved ones in return — while waiting for the next episode on Netflix to start. As far as connecting to our inner selves, we discovered that we need wifi to get our inspiration from Oprah. We found out early on that the simple things in life are actually quite complicated.

We were given a lifeline later in the day when Nova Scotia Power updated their app to 11 p.m., which meant only a few more hours. Then, just like clockwork, right at the appointed moment that the app stated, nothing happened. We started cursing, swearing and throwing things while being kept in the dark. In more ways than one. The only good thing about the app was it helped limit our frustrations to only every four hours, as the app changed the re-connection time.

Eventually, the power was restored, and by that time we had run out of energy. So, we’ve learned our lessons and we’re running out right now to buy a standby generator. We’ll be ready for the next power outage. And there will be another power outage. After all, there is nothing more reliable than the unreliability of Nova Scotia Power.

John Curtis

Grand Mira South


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