Workers in Fredericton assess how they will remove a large tree that was knocked over by post-tropical storm Arthur on the weekend. Daniel McHardie/CBC
Crews are struggling to restore power to more than 87,000 customers in New Brunswick and nearly 37,000 in Nova Scotia, two days after post-tropical storm Arthur hit the Maritimes.
The hardest-hit area in New Brunswick is Fredericton, where 39,571 customers are without power, according to NB Power’s website at about 12:30 p.m. AT.
- In western New Brunswick, there are 14,346 customers still in the dark in Woodstock.
- In southern New Brunswick, NB Power reports there are 10,347 customers without power in St. Stephen and 9,842 in Rothesay.
- Meanwhile, in eastern New Brunswick, there are 5,914 people without power in Miramichi.
The restoration of power is taking longer than NB Power predicted on Sunday.
Gaëtan Thomas, president and chief executive officer of NB Power, said Sunday that half of the 135,000 of customers without electricity "should have power back by midnight tonight. The majority of our customers by noon” on Monday.
Thomas told CBC's Information Morning Fredericton on Monday the utility has been forced to reassess its estimates for restoring power to much of the province.
“The target now is to have 80 per cent of our customers restored within five days. That is quite exceptional considering the damage; 2,000 trees in Fredericton alone and we estimate tens of thousands of trees across the province,” Thomas said.
It's the most damaging storm in recent history, Thomas said.
NB Power says the remaining 20 per cent of customers will have their power restored by the weekend.
Thomas said crews restored power to about 77,000 customers on Sunday but many had to be restored twice or three times.
NB Power posted on its Twitter account that the company's estimates for returning power to many New Brunswickers was "overly optimistic."
Nova Scotia Power is in a similar situation, with 36,843 customers still without electricity on Monday.
The utility had previously estimated most customers would have power restored Sunday evening.
Neera Ritcey, a spokeswoman for Nova Scotia Power, said the majority of customers would have their power back on Monday, but others could be waiting until Wednesday.
There will be more than 200 crews working in New Brunswick by noon on Monday, Thomas said. Additional crews are coming from Maine and Quebec.
Thomas said crews are working 24 hours a day.
“This is a massive effort and we have first-rate workers who are committed to return power to customers as soon as possible,” he said.
Post-tropical storm Arthur is responsible for the largest blackout in New Brunswick’s history, according to NB Power.
The storm brought strong winds and heavy rain. The strongest winds were recorded in Fredericton, where gusts hit 100 km/h.
All of New Brunswick received heavy rainfall. St. Stephen, in the southwestern part of the province, received 143 millimetres of rain on Saturday — the highest amount of rain from the storm recorded in the Maritimes.
Other communities that had significant highest rainfall amounts on Saturday include:
- Noonan, N.B., 140 mm.
- Millville, N.B.: 127 mm.
- Miramichi, N.B.: 122 mm.
Many municipalities are trying to help citizens, who have been without power for several days.
Fredericton will open the Grant-Harvey Centre and Willie O’Ree Place on Monday, and they will be used as charging stations. Shower facilities will also be available at the arenas.
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