Moncton-area outages leave 50K residents without power, RCMP investigates

Click to play video: 'More than 50K Moncton residents without power overnight' More than 50K Moncton residents without power overnight
WATCH: More than 50,000 households were without power last night in and around the Moncton area. A single fallen tree is what led to the widespread outages, as well as a police investigation. As Suzanne Lapointe reports, NB Power has reason to believe it was cut down on purpose. – Aug 11, 2022

More than 50,000 households in the Moncton area lost power on Wednesday evening due to a single fallen tree.

Large swaths of Moncton, as well as surrounding areas like Shediac, went dark between approximately 8:45 p.m. Wednesday night and 1:45 a.m. Thursday morning, according to NB Power spokesperson Dominique Couture.

In an interview on Thursday, she explained, “When that tree came into contact with the equipment, it actually damaged a key piece of equipment that supplied electricity to two transmission lines, which is why we saw such a big impact on customers.”

Read more: How NB Power prepares for outages

She said that while all the equipment involved has now been repaired, the total repair costs aren’t yet known.

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“Upon further investigation, it was determined that the tree was actually cut. So the RCMP are now investigating and we are collaborating in that investigation,” she said.

RCMP Sgt. André Pépin told Global News on Thursday that the tree was cut down near the intersection of McLaughlin Drive and Highway 2, near the outskirts of the city.

They began their investigation on Thursday morning.

They are asking anyone who knows what happened, or may have seen any suspicious activity in the area between 8 and 10 p.m. on Wednesday, to contact them.

Read more: NB Power energy efficiency program criticized by auditor general

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Couture explained that the utility’s vegetation management program exists to prevent this sort of thing from happening.

“Part of that program is widening rights of way wherever it’s deemed necessary and it’s also identifying trees that could cause potential hazards,” she said.

Still, she doesn’t believe this particular outage could have been prevented.

“I don’t believe this could have been prevented simply because (the tree) was deliberately cut,” she said.

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