One potent storm
Maritime Electric says people contacting call centre were genuinely terrified by thunder and lightning
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People seemed genuinely terrified of the intense lightning storm that hit P.E.I. Friday night.
That’s how Kim Griffin, spokeswoman with Maritime Electric, summed it up on Monday.
There were actually two storms, one that hit Friday night and a second one into the early hours of Saturday morning.
At its peak, more than 20,000 customers in the central and eastern portion of the province lost power.
“The one thing I really noticed in this storm compared to other storms is people were terrified of the lightning,’’ Griffin said. “It seems to a lot of people (that it was a) really loud and really big storm.’’
That was the main sentiment conveyed to the Maritime Electric call centre, which was staffed during the storm.
“We got that from a lot of people, how scared and concerned they were. I don’t remember having those kinds of comments before or for a long time. Our phones were ringing a lot.’’
The call centre was opened at 9 p.m. on Friday while the utility dispatched 11 crews to deal with the problem areas.
Crews were able to work during the first storm and after things cleared off for a while between the two storms, but challenges arose when the second one hit early Saturday morning.
“When the heavy downpour came, our crews basically had to stand down for a number of minutes. It was a pretty torrential rain for different parts of it.’’
About 14,000 customers had their power restored by 1 a.m. on Saturday while it took until about 11:30 p.m. Saturday before thousands more had their electricity turned back on.
Maritime Electric also found itself dealing with a greater than usual number of individual outages from this storm. It took a bit more time to get to an estimated 150 individual calls.
In terms of the damage, a number of trees were struck and came down on the utility’s lines.
“There were some areas as well where we had to repair a breaker, and (overall) it just took a while to find some of the problems. Where some of the trees were down we just weren’t sure where they were.’’
This photo taken by Maritime Electric linesman Todd MacInnis shows a crew from the utility working on the power lines in Mount Albion on Friday night. An intense combination of thunder and lightning caused more than 20,000 power outages.