July 8, 2014 5:35 pm

North Mountain residents criticize NS Power over long power outage

HALIFAX – Many residents in rural Nova Scotia are criticizing Nova Scotia Power over what they call long delays in getting their power restored post-Arthur.

Tammy Johnstone lives in North Mountain, near Canning in the Annapolis Valley, and has been without power since Saturday. She said her life after the post-tropical storm was like a camping trip she was not ready to take.

“You’re carrying water for flushing and for drinking,” she said. “We’ve been hauling water, literally buckets, to flush the toilet.”

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She used a camp stove to cook and relied on a generator to power her fridge and freezers.

Johnstone said she is frustrated by the long wait to get her power back, adding she did not see any power crews in her neighbourhood until Tuesday.

“I’m getting tired,” she said.

“Not much [longer] before we lose our sanity. I’m ready for a hot tub and to relax for a little bit.”

At the time of writing, Nova Scotia said just more than 12,000 customers remained without power. On Monday, there were more than 50,000 customers without power while at the height of the storm Saturday, more than 140,000 customers lost power.

Marie and Bill Best were among those who were still living in the dark Tuesday.

The couple have lived in North Mountain for more than 30 years and said this is the longest they have been without power.

“I know they are trying to do the best they can but I think they could be doing a little bit more,” Marie said.

The couple has been surviving by re-using water they use to cook for cleaning and lugging clean water from their daughter’s house back to their house.

“I have this big container full of water that we brought home and this is what we use for cooking and drinking. This is what I use for flushing the toilet with,” Marie said.

Late Tuesday afternoon, power was restored to both residences, but Best and Johnstone tell Global News that something needs to be done to ensure their experiences are not repeated.

Neera Ritchey, spokesperson for Nova Scotia Power, said power crews will work until power is restored to the entire province.

Ritchey said many areas, such as North Mountain, saw 140 km/h winds that lasted for three to four hours and she compares Arthur to Hurricane Juan.

However, she said the company will be evaluating its response to Arthur.

“We’ve seen damage that we found to be more complex than we had first thought. But every storm comes with learning and so will this one,” she said.

“We’ll be taking a hard look at what worked and what could be improved for the future.”

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