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Mayor Scott asks NS Power for additional resources

Cumberland County’s mayor has written Nova Scotia Power through Natural Resources and Renewables Minister and Cumberland South MLA Tory Rushton to ask for additional support for residents impacted by the prolonged power outage related to damage caused by post-tropical storm Fiona.

Ten days after the storm left several hundred thousand Nova Scotians without electricity, there is still more than a thousand Nova Scotia Power customers in Cumberland County area, primarily in the Wallace, Wentworth, Malagash and Westchester areas still without power.

The municipality is also announcing it is setting up an overnight shelter in Wallace with the assistance of the Wallace Fire Department and the Canadian Red Cross. The plan is to have the shelter operational on Tuesday evening with further details to be announced Tuesday.

“With the news that power restoration times have been extended further, we feel it necessary to make specific requests for urgent support for the area and our residents,” the mayor said in the letter to Rushton.

The mayor said the municipality is making five specific requests of Nova Scotia Power for additional resources in Cumberland County, including the establishment of at least 25 on-site full-time Nova Scotia Power customer service representatives in the Malagash, Wallace, Wentworth and Westchester areas.

“We envision both a staffed mobile customer service centre in the most affected area and the balance of the representatives on the ground in branded vehicles who can visit affected residents, answer their questions, attend to their needs and perhaps perform initial assessments of customer premises where electrical work will have to be performed by electricians prior to Nova Scotia Power reconnection being made,” the mayor said. “It is critical that a face-to-face customer service function be established to answer the questions that local EMO officials are unable to.Given the potentially extreme demand for electricians at this time for repair purposes, the municipality is requesting Nova Scotia Power provide a coordination service matching customers with specific repair needs to a pool of accredited electricians suggested by the power corporation

“We envision Nova Scotia Power actually bringing accredited electricians from other areas to help address this need,” the mayor said.

The municipality is calling for the establishment of a mobile comfort centre staffed full time by Nova Scotia Power representatives until all customers in the area are reconnected.   

In addition to Nova Scotia Power representatives, the municipality is requesting that additional supports be provided in the form of various health professionals to address mental and physical health issues of area residents

It is calling for the establishment of a customer logistics base in the Malagash, Wallace, Wentworth and Westchester areas from where Nova Scotia Power customer service representatives could identify the need for and arrange for the provision of both potable and non-potable water, fuel for alternate power sources like gasoline and propane, and safe alternate heating sources for customer residences.It’s also asking for the urgent availability of suitable alternate hotel/motel accommodations for those who can no longer remain in their homes.

“You should be aware that Cumberland REMO is currently making arrangements for a shelter beginning tomorrow evening but space is very limited,” the mayor said in his letter.

“These requests are urgent. Given the length of time that these residents have been without power and given that they are facing an extended further period without power it is critical that these resources be put in place.”