News release

Utility Board Agrees to Priority Review of Nova Scotia Power's Storm Response

NOTE: A pdf file of a letter from Premier Stephen McNeil to the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board is available at http://novascotia.ca/news/docs/2014/07/Letter-from-Premier-McNeil-to-Peter-Gurnham.pdf .

Government and the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board have agreed to a priority review of Nova Scotia Power's response to post-tropical storm Arthur.

"Many Nova Scotians experienced extreme frustration with the difficulties they had in getting information in the wake of this storm," said Premier Stephen McNeil today, July 11. "Many of our most vulnerable citizens were placed in potentially dangerous situations as a result of going without power for an extended period of time.

"The Minister of Energy has spoken with the chair of the UARB and they have agreed this requires further investigation to examine Nova Scotia Power's preparedness and response to the storm. I do commend the hard work of the dedicated workers who restored power, but the enormity and severity of the outages were unacceptable and warrant an in-depth review."

In a letter to the board, government has asked the scope of the investigation include:

  • storm preparedness
  • staffing levels
  • vegetation management
  • inbound and outbound communications
  • state of transmission and distribution infrastructure
"Arthur is the first named storm for 2014, so if there are immediate improvements that can be made, we want them to be done expeditiously," said Energy Minister Andrew Younger. "We hold our utility to the highest standards, and we need to understand why it has taken so long to restore power and why people weren't properly informed."

Government will also start debriefing key infrastructure partners, including Nova Scotia Power, Eastlink, Bell Aliant and others, next week to review emergency response efforts.

"Significant storms always carry the risk of infrastructure loss, but we need to identify what can be done to minimize this loss," said Emergency Management Office Minister Mark Furey. "We'll also be taking a close look at how all organizations responded to the emergency to identify areas for improvement before we're hit with another significant storm."

The Utility and Review Board will release information about its process next week. The public will be invited to participate.

FOR BROADCAST USE:

Government and the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board have agreed to a priority review of Nova Scotia Power's response to post-tropical storm Arthur.

Premier Stephen McNeil says many Nova Scotians experienced extreme frustration with the difficulties they had in getting information in the wake of this storm. The premier also points out that some of the province's most vulnerable citizens were placed in potentially dangerous situations because of not having power for an extended period of time.

Premier McNeil commends the hard work of the dedicated workers who restored power, but says the enormity and severity of the outages were unacceptable and warrant an in-depth review.

Government has asked the investigation look at storm preparedness, staffing levels, vegetation management, inbound and outbound communications and the state of transmission and distribution infrastructure.

The Utility and Review Board will release information about its process next week. The public will be invited to participate.

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Media Contacts:

Laurel Munroe
Premier's Office Cell: 902-222-0473 E-mail: