Maritime Electric says 7,815 customers remained without power as of Thursday morning.
“This is bigger than Juan,’’ said utility spokeswoman Kim Griffin, referring to the infamous 2003 hurricane that people still talk about today. “For us, this is a monumental storm. Dorian hit tip P.E.I. and it hit tip to tip with high, sustained winds. We’re seeing devastation across P.E.I. with tree damage.’’
Island food banks got a $50,000 boost from the province on Wednesday to help residents with urgent food needs.
P.E.I. continues to clean up from hurricane Dorian that swept through the province over the weekend, causing millions of dollars in damage and setting an all-time single-day record for insurance claims.
It also left 62,000 customers in the dark when the storm hit on Saturday.
Island food banks will provide immediate food relief to Islanders, particularly the most vulnerable, who lost power and may be relying on the support of food banks in the interim.
“I’m so glad that our network of food banks will be able to help people across the province with their most urgent food needs by working together with provincial government,’’ said Mike MacDonald, executive director of P.E.I. Food Banks.
Griffin said of the 130,000 poles Maritime Electric has across the province, 58 of them were down as of late Wednesday afternoon and they were still responding to pole fires.
There are currently 73 utility crews from Maritime Electric, Fortis Ontario and Newfoundland Power working to restore power across the province.
Griffin said she knows a lot of Islanders are frustrated.
“Our customers are certainly have a really rough time and we’re hearing about it,’’ she said. “Some of our customers are into day 5 (without) power. We’ve had some that have had power and lost it again. We’re trying to get to them as quickly as we can.’’
Maritime Electric’s contact centre remains open and the utility’s outage map is updated every half hour.
The Chief Public Health Office and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency have advised that foods can become a health and public safety concern during power outages and Islanders should be aware of when food is safe to keep and consume.
The Provincial Emergency Operations Centre was also keeping an eye on the weather Wednesday. With many trees already damaged due to the storm, rain and wind in the forecast on Wednesday could result in more trees and branches falling, risking additional utility outages and more debris blocking roads.
Provincial forestry staff have been helping Maritime Electric in clearing trees and cutting trail to het to areas that crews need to fix. Various municipalities have opened reception centres if there is a local need.
Provincial road crews are assisting with debris removal from roads and sidewalks and will begin curbside pickup of debris in the coming days.
Islanders dealing with debris are reminded to place debris near the road, according to Island Waste Management Corporation guidelines.
If trees are too big to move and they are not a safety hazard, leave the tree where it is for now. There will be further updates on debris removal plans next week. The cleanup will take some time so there is no rush to bring debris curbside.