Maritime Electric, P.E.I.’s main electrical utility, continued the hard slog of restoring mostly individual power outages on Tuesday, returning power to about 600 customers 19 days after Fiona knocked it out.
Immediately following the post-tropical storm on Sept. 24 electricity was out for the whole province. With the work done Tuesday about 2,900 customers need to be reconnected. Given an average of 2.3 Islanders per household, that represents about 6,600 people.
There are still some line outages that the utility is dealing with. Two of the larger outages, in Dingwells Mills and Lewes, were restored Tuesday.
In some instances crews are seeing the damage at repair sites for the first time this week, said Maritime Electric spokesperson Kim Griffin, and the damage is worse than expected.
“We don’t have eyes on all of these customers. We have descriptions from some of these customers,” Griffin told CBC News Tuesday.
“Today, as the crews were working to get power on [for] some of these customers, was the first time they’ve seen them. We have customers that we were talking to today and tomorrow that we’re even having issues getting access down their private roads for example. So these customers at the end of the road, up until now until Friday, are going to take the longest.”
She said crews attempted to assess damage in the first two days after the storm, but because some areas were inaccessible it wasn’t always possible to make an accurate assessment.
The goal is still to get most of the remaining households back online by Friday, said Griffin.
‘As much scrutiny … as needed’
Premier Dennis King says he is open to holding a public inquiry into the government’s response to Fiona.
The province simply wasn’t prepared for the level of destruction caused by the storm, said King.
“This has been the most catastrophic thing we’ve ever dealt with, so we’ll have a deep dive on this,” said King.
“We’ll certainly have as much scrutiny on this as needed so we can learn from it and hopefully be even better prepared the next time.”
King said he wouldn’t be surprised if the cost of all damages caused by Fiona reach half a billion dollars on P.E.I. alone.