Left in the dark

After three days without power, one Pictou County resident ‘expects more’ from Nova Scotia Power

Published on July 7, 2014

LOCH BROOM – Chris Fantini has been in the dark during Hurricane Arthur’s passing though Pictou County.


That’s because his power was only restored in his Loch Broom home yesterday around 3 p.m. after the lights went out 52 hours earlier.

In an email to The News sent from his phone as it charged in his car before his power was restored, he outlined the cost of the lengthy power outage.

“I've lost about $200 worth of food and am not able to do anything, (including) clean, correspond with people,” he said. “I can't keep myself entertained.”

High winds plagued the province’s power lines as trees and branches fell and interrupted power. Nova Scotia Power is still working to restore power in some areas.

As power returned to some areas of the county, it was evident that some had been without electricity for a while. Yesterday afternoon, power was restored to Black River Road after 49 hours, Carsons Corner after 44 hours and Big Island after 21 hours, to name a few.

While Fantini said he was lucky to have access to water though wasn’t able to shower or flush the toilet, he thinks NS Power can do better.

“I pay over $200 a month for power and I expect way more than this. They gave us a time line of 11:30 p.m. (Sunday) to have this fixed, which would have already been unacceptable,” he said. “But they've missed that by 15 hours and counting.

He suggests the province’s sole provider of electricity should look next door in New Brunswick to see how to manage a high volume of outages.

“The government-run New Brunswick Power had the same amount of customers without power and did a much more competent job. My aunt in Grand Digue lost her power at 1 a.m. (Sunday) and had it back by noon. That wasn't even residential, that was a cottage in same type of rural area.”

Fantini said it’s not the first time he’s been left in the dark for an extended period of time. When he moved to the area in January, he was without power for 39 hours and nearly froze.

“I think it's obscene they can turn huge profits, bleed Nova Scotians dry with ridiculous rates and not even deliver the service they are gouging us for.”

On Monday morning, there were still over 1,600 customers in the county, from Mt. Thom to Big Island, without power. By 4 p.m., there were only a few dozen still waiting for the lights to come back on.

For Jim and Joan Stewart out in Telford, they too dealt with almost three days without electricity from NS Power. It wasn’t an ideal situation, considering they had visitors.

“My daughter, her husband and their three kids were visiting so it was a bad time for it to go off,” said Joan.

Thankfully, Jim had bought a generator at Costco for exactly this kind of situation and essential lights, the fridge and freezer were kept going. They switched it off when power was restored yesterday morning.

On their way to church Sunday, they could see that a tree had fell on the wire causing their power woes. Joan said NS Power was responsive and good to deal with.

“They checked into it shortly after I called and said they were on there way down to check it out.”

All generators require fuel and since the Stewarts’ generator was going throughout the power outage, the bill added up.

“It ran out at 4 a.m. on Sunday so Jim went to get more gas just as the pumps were opening,” said Joan. “It was around 100 bucks to keep the generator going.”

Despite the cost, the couple is happy to have their power restored.

A spokesperson from Nova Scotia Power could not be reached for comment though a Tweet sent out yesterday noted that Hurricane Arthur has been a challenging storm for their customers and crews and acknowledged the wait can be frustrating.

A separate Tweet noted that some power restorations will take into Wednesday and Thursday, and that communities in question and customers are being notified directly.



On Twitter: @NGNewsJohn