SaskPower expects to have everyone's power back on by Friday afternoon

·4 min read

SaskPower says the rural areas of the province still without power from this week's storm should see their lights back on by Friday afternoon.

Wide swaths of the province have been without electricity in the wake of the blizzard and high winds this week.

Areas still without power Friday morning include southwest of Elrose, including Beechy, Saskatchewan Landing, White Bear, Lucky Lake and areas south of Weyburn.

SaskPower said power has been restored to areas near Glenavon and for customers east of that community with power lines down.

Saskpower spokesperson Scott McGregor said the areas still without power suffered major damage to the power infrastructure.

"That's really what's keeping the power off, is that some larger transmission lines have been damaged and we're just working on getting those fixed," McGregor said.

Matthew Howard/CBC News
Matthew Howard/CBC News

That will be good news for Natalie Braun and other residents of Beechy, who have been without power since Wednesday afternoon.

"I don't know what our wind got to, but our visibility was zero [Wednesday] late afternoon and went on into the evening," Braun said. "I mean, it was crazy."

Braun said they have a generator that has helped them cook meals and stay warm, though even it wouldn't work at the height of the storm.

The generator was plugged in at the back of the house and she said the night of the storm the snow and wind kept freezing up the generator.

Braun said others in the community who don't have generators are still in the dark and cold.

"We have gotten quite accustomed to having power outages," she said, adding that's many people have generators.

"But there's definitely a lot without. And it's yeah, it's been a long go. Thankfully, it's not freezing freezing cold."

She said community organizations have arranged to drop off hot meals to some elderly residents and that the community hall, which has a generator, is open to residents to come warm up.

"It's amazing how a small community can really come together," Braun said. "Yesterday we witnessed a lot of people just going out of their way, checking in on the elderly people in our community. And it just is pretty amazing how everybody, especially in these circumstances and obviously going through this in a pandemic there, it takes it to a whole new level."

Matthew Howard/CBC News
Matthew Howard/CBC News

McGregor said a transmission line went down in the Beechy area.

"We're still working in that area and [power] should be up around noon, maybe two o'clock at the latest," he said. "I know that it's been it's been out for a long time over two nights ... and we appreciate everyone's patience while we all get through this."

More than 100 communities have had power outages because of the storm and roughly 78,000 people were still without power as of Thursday afternoon.

McGregor said high winds and blowing snow continued to hamper crews trying to restore power to some communities.

Since the storm began, SaskPower recorded more than 780 outages affecting more than 100,000 customers.

SaskPower
SaskPower

McGregor said there could be a few people that remain without power if more problems arise.

"We're still taking inventory of a lot of the damage out there," he said.

McGregor said it's like clearing a major highway after a snowstorm.

"You have the highway reopened, but then you have to deal with the side streets. Same with a transmission line being damaged and then re-energise," he said.

"They can repair the transmission lines, but then once that is energized, then other problems coming off of that at the distribution level become evident and then we can work on those.."

Natalie Braun
Natalie Braun

Braun said while the power outage has been stress for the adults, her two children, aged six and three, have been having a blast.

"Our street was impassable yesterday so they were loving seeing all the commotion around. And they love all the snow," she said.

Coincidentally the kids got a pair of head lamps in the mail a few days ago and are putting them to good use.

"We don't run our generators through the night so in the mornings, they're hiding under the blankets with the head lamps on."