Nova Scotia gets under fire after a long breakdown

HALIFAX – Nova Scotia's electric utility went into the fire Thursday after massive power outages called on opposition leaders and online critics to call on the government to keep the company private.

The entire Atlantic area was suppressed by power outages after storms blew through strong winds and heavy, wet snow that dragged electricity, disturbed travel, and closed schools.

But Nova Scotia was particularly hit by downtime, with nearly 250,000 households and businesses – half of Nova Scotia Power customers – without electricity at one point before noon.

A tool owned by Emera Inc. Halifax, said the wind and snow took off one of four high-voltage transmission lines that carry electricity from Cape Breton power plants to Nova Scotia.

Nova Scotia's Executive Director, Karen Hutt, said the remaining three lines could handle the load, but the downwind wires were offline when they started touching.

The problem was counted shortly after NB Power was hit by an outage in Memramcook, N.B., where the transmission line connects New Brunswick to Nova Scotia.

"This system did the same thing our system did – shut down to protect itself," Hutt said in an interview.

The second outage doubled the number of Nova Scotia Power customers without electricity, bringing the total number to more than 200,000.

It was the worst power outage the province has suffered since Hurricane Juan defeated this region in September 2003, killing eight people and causing $ 100 million of damage.

Nova Scotia NDP leader Gary Burrill said Thursday's "fairly running" storm – for example, Halifax had virtually no snow – should not cause such extensive outages.

But Hutt insisted that Halifax downtime, which caused severe online criticism, was a result of the particularly unpleasant weather in Northeastern Nova Scotia, followed by a breakdown in New Brunswick.

"It can not be concluded that precisely because you are in Halifax, you should be protected from anything that is happening in other parts of the province," she said. "That's how the energy system works in New Scotland or in other jurisdictions."

However, Burrill called on the government to keep this aid.

"There's something serious about network maintenance as a whole," Burrill said. "When we have this level of network failure infrastructure … why would not a normal person think," God, there's something wrong. ""

Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Houston was more blunt: "We pay some of the highest rates in the country, we expect this power, and when it comes out … it must come back."

Much of the online chatter raised questions about the severity of the storm in Halifax.

"I am astonished that today's weather is considered a storm," said one social media contribution. "Is there another province in this country that deals with power outages as often as N.S.? I really ask because it's absurd."

When Prime Minister Stephen McNeil was asked how his liberal government would respond to outages, he immediately referred to the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board, which regulates electrical services.

"We have established standards of reliability," he said after a meeting in Halifax. "At the same time, the controller finally deals with reliability."

Elsewhere, on Thursday, NB Power introduced 44,000 customers in the dark in neighboring New Brunswick. In P.EI Maritime Electric said that 45,000 customers were without electricity, while Newfoundland Power also reported several outages.

The low-pressure weather system has caused Environment Canada to issue weather warnings across the Atlantic.

In Newfoundland, winds were projected at a speed of 110 kilometers per hour, where snow covers were expected to reach 25 centimeters in the middle of the province.

Parts of North Nova Scotia were expected to grow by 20 cm of snow and winds up to 80 km / h.

The agency stated that the northern coast of P.E.I. they could see waves and surfing, which could cause flooding, while East New Brunswick could see up to 15 cm of snow and wind up to 80 km / h.

The schools were closed and the ferry service between Newfoundland and Nova Scotia was canceled and the confederation bridge between P.E.I. and Nova Scotia restricted travel.

Flights were canceled or delayed in Halifax, Charlottetown and St. Louis. John & apos; s, N.L.

Michael MacDonald, Canadian Press

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