July 30, 2014 8:04 am

UARB looks for public input on Arthur review

HALIFAX — The Utility and Review Board’s investigation into Nova Scotia Power’s preparedness and response to post-tropical storm Arthur is well under way, and the public is getting a chance to tell their Arthur-related story.

At its peak 100,000 residents in Nova Scotia lost power. Outages lasted up to a week, leaving some families and businesses to absorb a major financial hit.

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The backlash towards Nova Scotia Power was fierce, with many people saying it shouldn’t have taken a full week before power was restored across the province. Communication from Nova Scotia Power was unclear and often inaccurate, which compounded the frustration. Residents often weren’t able to get in touch with anyone through the company’s help line, and when they did the estimates on when power would be restored were often wrong.

The electricity company’s slow response to the storm prompted Premier Stephen McNeil to call for a review from the UARB. At the time McNeil said the “response to this storm has not been acceptable quite frankly and the blame is across a number of organizations.”

In the immediate aftermath of the storm Nova Scotia Power spokesperson Neera Ritcey defended the company’s preparedness. “We’re very confident in our overall complement that we have,” said Ritcey. “It’s the extent of the damage that is taking time despite the resources that we have.”

The review will be checking to make sure Nova Scotia Power did have enough resources in place.

There are two ways for the public to have their concerns heard at the UARB’s review.

You can apply for formal standing at the review, where you will be able to submit your own comments on the power company’s response to the storm and also possibly cross examine other witnesses. The deadline for applying for formal standing is July 31.

If you don’t want to be as heavily involved in the review you can submit your comments to the board via email or a posted letter by September 9.

More information can be found on the UARB’s website.

Four groups have already applied for formal standing at the review.

The board will decide whether additional investigations need to be undertaken after reviewing comments from intervenors and consultants, as well as Nova Scotia Power’s response, which is to be filed on September 16.

© Shaw Media, 2014

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