Severe lightning knocks out power to 900

·2 min read

ST. MARY’S – An intense lightning storm is being blamed for knocking out electricity to more than 900 residents – nearly half the population – of the Municipality of the District of St. Mary’s on July 26.

The unexpected and fast-moving tempest “severely damaged our equipment in the Country Harbour and surrounding areas [of] St. Mary’s,” said Nova Scotia Power spokesperson Mina Atia about the 18-hour outage that began at 6 a.m. and ended at 11 p.m., when power was fully restored.

The outage – covering an oblong-shaped area centred in Sherbrooke and extending in all directions to Glenelg, Port Bickerton and Liscomb – postponed or cancelled some public programs, including summer day camp at the Recplex. Fortunately, said St. Mary’s Director of Finance Marian Fraser, a generator kept the municipal office open to the public and water and sewer operations running smoothly.

“Some businesses in the area were still assessing the impact of the outage on their operations [last Thursday, July 28],” she noted. “The municipality did not receive any formal complaints. We appreciate the hard work to restore the power.”

According to Atia, “The biggest challenge that impacted restoration efforts for our customers was access to the damaged equipment, which is located off road. We brought in specialized off-road tracked equipment and a helicopter to make the required repairs.”

In a presentation to St. Mary’s council in May, an NS Power official noted that the increasing frequency, unpredictability and intensity of storms, likely due to climate change along coastal Nova Scotia, is becoming a fact of life. These, in turn, were stretching resources at the utility’s field operations.

“We’ve had significant storms pretty much from the beginning of January, right through to the end of March,” Director of Transmission and Distribution Operations Matt Drover told councillors. “We are tracking the weather very closely, and we understand that that’s changing. We take our commitment to liability very seriously. This is an ongoing effort.”

Last week, Atia said, “crews safely worked on accessing the damaged equipment and replaced them.”

Alec Bruce, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Guysborough Journal

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting