NS Power in unwelcome spotlight as customer's diatribe goes viral

Tribune-Post Staff
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Janet Lunn’s sharp-witted letter to Nova Scotia Power is quickly making its rounds on social media

FALMOUTH, NS – A Falmouth resident’s no-holds-barred letter to Nova Scotia Power following post-tropical storm Arthur has gone viral on social media.

Janet Lunn’s lament, posted as a Facebook note shortly before 6 p.m. on July 8, tells the tale of an annoyed Nova Scotia Power customer expecting to be left in the dark for another 48 to 72 hours after already living without electricity for 82 hours.

“I have three voicemails on my phone advising me that you have restored my power. I was shocked to hear this yet again because my lights still don’t work and the hot water is very, very cold,” the letter reads.

Lunn, a home-based travel agent, proceeded to provide the power company with a list of 12 restoration time estimates she received since losing electricity July 5 at 7 a.m.

“Today I sponge bathed in cold water in my sink and had a handful of 12-day-old peanuts for breakfast. My fridge is now empty because the smell of rotting meat was beginning to seep through. I have a list of Wi-Fi places nearby so I can linger over drinks and snacks while trying to run a home-based business from a tablet,” she wrote.

Lunn’s letter had 3,921 likes and 4,360 shares on Facebook as of July 10 at 2 p.m. A copy of the letter was shared with TC Media CLICK HERE

“That shows you how many people are frustrated, I guess. If you count one share as one frustrated customer, that’s a lot of frustrated people,” Lunn said.

She hopes the provincial government sees her letter as a prime example of why Nova Scotia Power’s monopoly should be reviewed.

“When I kept getting notifications that my power was on when it wasn’t, and people on the phone telling me that they’re not coming to my house because I’m not a priority, I thought, if this was any other company I would just tell them I’m not going to use your service anymore and I’m going to go to your competition,” she said. “And I can’t do that.”

Lit Up

Lunn’s power was restored around 9 a.m. July 9, one day after she tracked a Nova Scotia Power truck down and asked the operator to address the prolonged outage at her home on Highway 1.

However, her story isn’t over yet. Complete strangers have been reaching out to Lunn since she posted her letter online. One told her she had to take her husband, who receives dialysis treatments from home, to the hospital for care during the outage. Another had to sponge bath her sick father, who is living at home while on palliative care, in cold water.

“There’s a lot of people way worse off than I am that still don’t have power,” said Lunn.

She intends to send Nova Scotia Power an invoice for the discarded food, lost wages and restaurant bills resulting from the extended power outage in her area.

“I don’t expect anything to come of this but I just want them to see what one average person lost because they’re incompetent,” she said. “I’m going on years and years now of constant poor service with no recourse.”

Taking a trip down memory lane, Lunn recalled in her letter the time she dealt with more than 15 power outages in the span of a year. Another time, she said she was told her power was out because of fog. Yet another day, the power lines were allegedly compromised by drizzle.

“For 10 years, I was told the lines were fine. Meanwhile, whenever my neighbour’s dog farted my power was out for three days,” Lunn quipped.

All jokes aside, Lunn challenged Nova Scotia Power’s decision makers to re-evaluate the way they operate.

“There is absolutely no reason for power outages to occur as often or for as long as they do here in Nova Scotia. The fact that it does happen is proof that you are understaffed, poorly managed and have no preparedness plan for emergencies, which should be a basic premise in your industry,” she said.

Company’s Response

NSP spokeswoman Neera Ritcey said she couldn’t comment on an individual customer’s situation.

However, she did say, “some of the communication systems did not live up to the standard we are used to and that our customers should be able to expect.”

Ritcey said Arthur caused “significant damage” which led to revisions in the restoration estimates.

“Customers are understandably frustrated,” Ritcey said July 10. “As soon as every last customer is restored we will review what went wrong and we are committed to fixing those systems. We will also be reviewing the strategy that we use to estimate times that power will be restored. Generally it works well and has held up during winter storms but we recognize that we may be able to improve it for storms of the severity we have seen with Arthur.”

With 187 crews working July 10, Ritcey said, she expected to bring back electricity to customers by Friday night.

Organizations: Nova Scotia Power

Geographic location: FALMOUTH, Nova Scotia

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