Canadian Consulting Engineer

Questions raised over Nova Scotia’s power grid

November 17, 2004
By Canadian Consulting Engineer

Premier John Hamm has called for an independent assessment of Nova Scotia Power's transmission network following th...

Premier John Hamm has called for an independent assessment of Nova Scotia Power’s transmission network following the storm last weekend, and Nova Scotians are livid that they have been left without power again. <br>
Winds of 90 kilometres an hour and up to 45 centimetres of snow hit the province on Sunday night. The storms toppled transmission towers and left 100,000 customers without electricity. By Wednesday, 15,000 customers, mostly in the western part of the province, were without power. Some suburbs of Halifax were still in the dark.<br>
With echoes of the Ice Storm that hit Quebec and eastern Ontario in 1998, the Maritime storm exposed a power grid too vulnerable to extreme weather storms. The heavy snowfall and high winds crumpled 12 steel and wooden towers. Four towers fed Dartmouth, a city of 65,000 people. <br>
The utility issued a press release saying the towers were structurally sound before the storm, and blamed the extreme weather. However, many residents say the storm wasn’t that unusual and say the grid should have been able to withstand the pummelling. They also blamed staff cutbacks for delays in restoring the power.<br>
Nova Scotia Power is a former crown corporation that was privatized in 1992 and is owned by Emera Inc. The utility provides more than 97% of the electrical generation and transmission to Nova Scotia.<br>
The province’s power grid was also severely damaged during Hurricane Juan in October last year. That storm crippled three out of five high-capacity transmission lines, three 120-foot transmission towers, 17 main transmission lines, 45 substations and 145 distribution feeders.<br>


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