Lessons should be learned from Arthur’s fury

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In the weeks since post-tropical storm Arthur roared through the Maritimes, Nova Scotia’s power utility has found itself again at the centre of the bull’s-eye of public criticism. To many, the company failed miserably in its response during and after the storm.

Last week, Premier McNeil called for a priority review of Nova Scotia Power and how emergency situations will be handled in the future, saying preparedness and response to the storm need to be questioned. Not only are people mad they lost power, they are venting about the communication breakdown at the height of the storm when people found it difficult, if not impossible, to get updates on when power would be restored.

It’s really easy to pound the power company when the lights go out and much of what the premier and many Nova Scotians are saying is valid. Someone has to answer for this mess.

Still, we can’t forget this wasn’t your average summer storm and the winds generated by Arthur as it moved from tropical to post-tropical status were not normal, nor was the slow pace of the storm across the region.

When Nova Scotia Power’s Mark Sidebottom spoke at a meeting in Amherst recently he admitted it wasn’t the company’s finest hour and said the company will learn a lot from this storm. We can only hope it does.

The power company has spent $90 million over the last few years storm-hardening its system, but even that was no match for the wind gusts brought on by the storm. Clearly not enough was done, or no one could foresee the damage brought by a storm of this nature.

It was politically correct for McNeil and other politicians to say they are not impressed with the power company’s response. Many feel not enough was not to prepare for the storm and that profits were put ahead of preparation and users ended up paying the price.

Now that the damage has been repaired, it’s imperative for the power company to move quickly to mend fences with its customers. Now’s not the time for excuses, it’s time for action so we are prepared the next time Arthur, or any other storm, comes knocking on our doors.

Organizations: Nova Scotia Power

Geographic location: Nova Scotia, Amherst

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