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News

NB Power outlines actions following Ice Storm review

2017-08-18


Fredericton, N.B. – NB Power has identified areas where it can improve its operations in order to improve emergency preparedness in major weather events, following an internal and provincial review of the Ice Storm that occurred in the winter of 2017.

“We were pleased to participate, along with the Emergency Measures Organization, in the public sessions related to the review and we thank the Clerk of the Executive Council, Judy Wagner, and her team for their thorough report and its recommendations,” said Gaëtan Thomas, President and CEO of NB Power. “We also want to thank our customers and all those who participated in these important sessions.”

In addition to the public meetings regarding the ice storm, NB Power undertook its own review and submitted it to the Executive Council Office for consideration.

“The Ice Storm of 2017 was a truly historic event with unprecedented impact and the restoration involved the work of many different partners,” Thomas said. “It is important that we learn from these types of events and I believe the review at both the provincial level, and internally at NB Power, will help us all work together more efficiently and be better prepared for future weather events.”

The review focused on storm preparations, response and follow up in the areas of customer and public communications, operations, logistics and supply chain, environment, contact center performance, safety and external relations.

As a result of the review, NB Power has committed to the following:

  • There will be greater emphasis and outreach with pre-season preparedness and safety campaigns in rural communities, coordinated with local leaders, first responders and New Brunswick’s Emergency Measures Organization (EMO) to ensure customers are informed and prepared prior to storm season.
  • Restoration updates will be simplified for customers, with greater emphasis on visuals and photographs that explain sequence of events to restore power.
  • NB Power and EMO will explore the possibility of creating a dedicated emergency broadcast station to provide essential information to New Brunswickers in times of crisis.
  • The utility will review its assessment process to provide more accurate estimated restoration times and better upfront data.
  • Investments in advanced metering infrastructure is being explored. This would include smart meters, with the potential to help crews locate and diagnose outages more quickly during storm and other events.
  • Work is underway with the Canadian Standard Association to review guidelines to build greater resilience into the grid in areas vulnerable to extreme weather impacts.
  • Investments will be made in reinforcing infrastructure in vulnerable areas, such as along the northeastern coastline.
  • Roles and responsibilities with partner agencies will be clarified to ensure efficient and effective response to future storms.

The January 2017 ice storm was an unprecedented weather event for NB Power. Storm-related outages peaked at approximately 133,000. More than 600 poles broke and required replacing, as well as 150 transformers, and 52 kilometers of distribution lines needed repairs. The total restoration cost was $30 million.

MEDIA CONTACT: Marie-Andrée Bolduc, communications, NB Power, 506-458-3212 or mbolduc@nbpower.com