HALIFAX – Nova Scotia Power is ramping up the biggest pre-storm mobilization of personnel and resources in the company’s history in advance of a severe winter storm that is forecast to bring hurricane force winds to Nova Scotia tomorrow (Thursday).
“This is a bigger storm than the one that hit last week,” said Karen Hutt, president & CEO of Nova Scotia Power. “The wind predictions are stronger, gusting up to 140 kilometres per hour, and more sustained, plus there is snow and rain on the front end.”
“We are calling in crews from as far away as Hydro Quebec. By tomorrow (THURSDAY), we will have more than 1,000 people dedicated to storm response, including frontline crews, damage assessors, planners, engineers, support staff, and customer care representatives.”
Nova Scotia Power has been monitoring the storm, planning response and securing resources for days. The company decided Tuesday to activate its Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) at 8 p.m. today (Wednesday). The EOC is the nerve centre for outage restoration planning and response and is staffed with employees representing all aspects of the company. Nova Scotia Power will operate its EOC until the last customer is safely restored.
Crews will begin restoring power as soon as it’s safe to do so, but when winds are gusting above 80 km/hour, they have to make on-site assessments of whether to stand down for safety. Restorations may not be able to begin until winds subside on Friday.
“Weather forecasts suggest this could be the most damaging storm since post tropical storm Arthur,” Hutt said. “Customers should be prepared for power outages lasting through the weekend, and perhaps into early next week. Freezing temperatures are predicted, so please plan for the safety of yourself and your family.”
Nova Scotia Power is opening its four payment depots in Kentville, Chester, Stellarton (at 26 Bridge Avenue) and Shelburne, as well its head office in Halifax, as comfort centres from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. beginning tomorrow (Thursday) and through to the end of local outage restoration. Customers who’ve lost power will be able to warm up, have some coffee or hot chocolate, and recharge their devices. The specific locations are:
Nova Scotia Power will also work with provincial and local emergency management organizations to understand where and when other comfort centres are open, so it can provide that information to customers.
“We want customers to stay safe, and we want to do what we can to help them be comfortable, while we respond to this storm,” Hutt said. “People were patient and supportive during the recovery from the Christmas Day storm. It showed that if we all pull together we can get through these extreme storms safely.”
If you see a downed wire, please stay away and report it at 1-877-428-6004. If you are concerned about an immediate public or personal safety risk, please call 911.
Nova Scotia Power encourages customers to plan for their safety. Some tips include:
• Monitoring local weather forecasts
• Having an emergency kit that includes flashlights, a battery-powered radio and fresh water
• Ensuring backup generators are installed properly outdoors
• Charging electronic device
• If you lose power, turn off and unplug electrical equipment, such as televisions and computers to prevent damage when power is restored.
• Visit www.nspower.ca/stormready for a full list of safety and storm preparedness tips.
Customers can report outages by calling Nova Scotia Power at 1-877-428-6004. Customers can get their latest estimated restoration by calling Nova Scotia Power at 1-877-428-6004 or checking outagemap.nspower.ca.
In situations where there are multiple power outages, Nova Scotia Power restores power in phases to ensure critical services like hospitals can stay open before beginning work in other areas. Larger outages on transmission lines and in substations are restored ahead of smaller outages to restore electricity to the greatest number of customers.