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New Brunswick January ice storm most costly restoration in NB Power’s history

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WATCH: NB Power says the ice storm that knocked out power for thousands in January is the most costly restoration the utility has seen in its history. Adrienne South has details on the totals – Apr 5, 2017

New Brunswick’s power utility says this January’s ice storm was the largest, most expensive restoration effort in the utility’s history.

READ MORE: Northeastern NB on path back to normal after devastating storm

The Crown-owned NB Power says in a release that costs for the ice storm are estimated at $30 million for the storm that occurred from Jan. 24 to 26.

That includes labour for 380 repair crews and support staff, fuel for trucks, replacement poles, transformers and other equipment, lodging and meals.

The repairs included replacing nearly 600 broken hydro poles and 150 transformers in the Acadian Peninsula, and installing 51 kilometres of new lines.

At the peak of the storm, 133,000 customers were without power and it required 12 days to reconnect their electricity.

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The outages hit the Acadian Peninsula hardest, but the Miramichi area and Kent County were also affected.

READ MORE: NB Power crews get support from communities as restoration continues

NB Power is conducting an internal review of the storm response and working with the province on a broader review that includes public feedback at meetings this week.

Bruce Macfarlane, the New Brunswick Executive Council’s communications director, said the meetings have been going well so far with three complete and two more to go.

“What we’re asking the residents is, ‘what went well? What didn’t go so good? And what we can do to improve for the next ice storm.’ And we’re hearing some great suggestions,” Macfarlane said.

“Lack of communication was something that was brought up.”

Macfarlane said one thing they did hear from the public is how communities banded together.

“We heard about how grocery stores banded together and worked together and brought in professionals to make sure that the food was still good,” he said.

“One thing that we’ve heard at every single place is a sense of community. How people came together, checked on their neighbours, checked on their relatives.”

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If people are unable to make the meetings or missed them, Macfarlane said they can write the clerk with their concerns.

— With files from Adrienne South and Sean Previl, Global News