Nova Scotia Power should have electricity restored to most of the residential power customers on Long and Brier Islands by 3 p.m. this afternoon.
That’s the good news. The bad news is: it’s just a temporary fix. They’re planning an outage for tomorrow, Thursday, March 14 to finish the job. Rodenhiser says the plan now is for the outage to last fromtomorrow.
High winds have kept crews from making repairs to a high-tension wire across Petit Passage between the mainland and Long Island in Digby County.
The work crews reported winds of almost 60 kilometres per hour at 10 a.m. with a forecast of 70 kmh.
As a temporary measure crews have been working in the substation in East Ferry to restore power to all the single-phase customers – which is all the residential customers. They expected to have the power on to those customers by 3 p.m. today.
Nova Scotia Power spokesperson David Rodenhiser says they’ve been in touch with all the three-power customers –mostly businesses with large power demands because of large fridges, freezers or other compressors.
All but one of three-phase customers have their own generators running. NSP crews are working to modify the two-phase power into three-phase power for that one customer, similar to the way they have been providing three-phase power on Brier Island.
[See story from January: New undesea cables to Brier Island ]
Rodenhiser says the forecast is for less wind tomorrow, Thursday, March 14 and Nova Scotia Power is expecting to have 15 to 20 personnel in the area to reconnect the third cable across Petit Passage.
That work will require turning off the power to the Islands as it isn’t safe to work on the one broken cable while other two are energized, says Rodenhiser.
On the bright side, Nova Scotia Power plans to bump ahead their work on the undersea cables across Grand Passage to Brier Island.
To finish that work they had scheduled a planned outage for next week, but are sending in extra crews to get that work done while the power is out for the repairs in Petit Passage.
The trouble started about 5:30 a.m. this morning Wednesday, March 13, when one of three high-tension wires across Petit Passage let go, cutting power to 638 customers.
The cable is drooping about 10 metres above the water.
Rodenhiser says a u-bolt broke on a tower on the Long Island side of Petit Passage. The u-bolt attaches the high-tension wire to the 180-foot transmission towers. The cables across the passage are approximately 550 metres long.
Rodenhiser says NSPI is calling in specialized crew and equipment--moslty from Halifax but also a crane from either Yarmouth or Truro.
“The crew tell me those lines across Petit Passage have extremely high tension,” says Rodenhiser. “So we need special equipment to create that tension.”
Rodenhiser says the u-bolts rust and degrade with time and crews will be confirming the security of the other lines while they are up the tower.
The Coast Guard Cutter Westport is on station in the passage as the cable is dropping low enough to block fishing vessels from using the south end of Petit Passage. The ferry is able to run north of the cable with no danger.
Rodenhiser says the height of the towers, the extremely high tension and the complications of working over water make it a difficult fix.
“We apologize for any inconvenience, we know it is frustrating,” says Rodenhiser. “Our crews are working to restore the power as quickly and as safely as they can.”