One po­tent storm

Mar­itime Elec­tric says peo­ple con­tact­ing call cen­tre were gen­uinely ter­ri­fied by thun­der and light­ning

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - THE ISLAND - BY DAVE STE­WART 5)& (6"3%*"/ EBWF TUFXBSU!UIFHVBSEJBO QF DB 5XJUUFS DPN %WF4UFXBSU

i8F HPU UIBU GSPN B MPU PG QFPQMF IPX TDBSFE BOE DPODFSOFE UIFZ XFSF * EPO U SFNFNCFS IBWJOH UIPTF LJOET PG DPNNFOUT CFGPSF PS GPS B MPOH UJNF 0VS QIPOFT XFSF SJOHJOH B MPU Kim Grif­fin

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.’’

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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.

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