Al­most half the prov­ince was with­out elec­tric­ity at peak of out­ages

Wide­spread out­age es­ti­mated to be the largest since Hur­ri­cane Juan in 2003

StarMetro Halifax - - FRONT PAGE - YVETTE D’EN­TREMONT

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.”

AN­DREW VAUGHAN/THE CANA­DIAN PRESS

Nova Sco­tians were ask­ing why was there such a wide­spread out­age in the ab­sence of a sig­nif­i­cant weather event.

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