FREDERICTON N.B. – Power has been restored to all customers affected by the most damaging series of storms to hit the region in decades, and NB Power wishes to thank its customers, employees and contractors for their extraordinary patience, hard work and understanding during the outages.
“This has been the most challenging two weeks in our utility's recent history,” Gaëtan Thomas, chief executive officer and president of NB Power, said yesterday. “Our customers showed incredible heart and persistence in supporting the work of our crews as they worked to clear and repair damaged lines throughout Christmas and New Year's. Our customers brought hot meals and coffee to crews despite not having electricity in their own homes. We are humbled by their actions and grateful for their patience and support.”
A series of fierce winter storms hit New Brunswick between Dec. 22 and 30, bringing freezing rain, heavy snow and extreme cold, and causing extensive damage to NB Power's lines and infrastructure.
NB Power crews, with help from neighbouring utilities, private contractors and tree-trimming companies, completed 170,000 customer restorations in 11 days.
The extreme weather caused 88,000 customers to require having power restored more than once, some as many as six times. These storms were three times more damaging than the ice storm of 1998, which knocked out power to 28,000 customers.
At the peak of restoration, about 264 crews were in the field working to reconnect customers. In addition, hundreds of employees worked throughout the holiday period answering calls in the customer contact centre, managing logistics and schedules and co-ordinating the restoration progress.
In addition to customers and employees, NB Power wishes to recognize the efforts of the New Brunswick Red Cross, and private businesses which contributed to relief efforts.
The Red Cross operated warming centres in affected communities providing heat, food and shelter for those without power. Several private businesses also donated firewood, water, fuel cards and even hotel rooms to assist those affected.
“We have learned that in New Brunswick, generosity has no bounds,” said Thomas. “We know that as a utility, we have a lot of good lessons to learn from these storms and will take action to minimize the impact of similar events in future. One lesson we will also take away is the knowledge that New Brunswick is a province of neighbours who know how to take care of each other in times of crisis. We feel privileged and proud to serve them.”