Almost half the province was without electricity at peak of outages
Widespread outage estimated to be the largest since Hurricane Juan in 2003
Frustrations mounted Thursday in the wake of a widespread power outage that at one point left close to half of Nova Scotia without electricity.
Nova Scotia Power said 250,000 of its 515,000 customers were without power at the peak of the outage.
“I don’t have the exact number on Hurricane Juan right in front of me, but to say this is the largest number of customers impacted at one time since Hurricane Juan (in
2003) would be a fair assessment,” Nova Scotia Power spokesperson Tiffany Chase said in an interview.
Juan, a Category 2 hurricane, brought with it sustained winds of 157 km/h, sheeting rain, storm surges and huge waves. A report from the Canadian Hurricane Centre said between 800,000 and 900,000 people in Nova Scotia and P.E.I. lost their power during the storm.
In Halifax, many doctors offices, schools, small and large businesses were forced to close for the day on Thursday.
The few food and coffee shops that were open did brisk business.
“It has definitely been a little busier than we expected, but we definitely took full advantage and made sure on our social media that Halifax
knew we were open today. Everyone needs a coffee,” laughed Sarah Vandewalker, front of house manager at Rousseau Chocolatier in downtown Halifax.
“For the most part, people are saying that traffic is crazy and they’re really excited to
find somewhere to get their coffee fix. We’re really lucky we’re in that part of the grid that somehow hasn’t been affected. It is a little chaotic out there.”
With traffic lights out at many major intersections, traffic was slow moving.
“So many idiots just sailing through intersections where the lights are out. So ..... many..... idiots ..... ” @Writerdann wrote on Twitter.
At Dalhousie University, one professor got creative when the power went out at Dalplex as students were writing an exam. A tweeted photo shows students standing in a hallway filled with natural light, looking at a row of skeleton models.
“When the power goes out during the KINE 2320 Anatomy examin @dalplex, you improvise,” the tweet states.
But across all social media channels, Nova Scotians were asking one question: why was there such a widespread outage in the absence of a significant weather event like a hurricane?
“We understand that people may wonder why that would happen. We do have a number of ways that we generate electricity in N.S., but the bulk of our heavy lifting happens in Cape Breton,” Chase explained. “So when the main transmission line that brings electricity from Cape Breton to the mainland goes down as was the case (Thursday), it didn’t allow us to deliver electricity to the customers on the other side which was essentially a large number of customers in Halifax metro and along the south shore down to Yarmouth.”
Nova Scotians were asking why was there such a widespread outage in the absence of a significant weather event.