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P.E.I.'s Highway 2 to remain closed while downed poles cleared away

<p>A work crew with the Summerside Electric Utility works at a pole along Water Street East in the city’s downtown. The municipal electric utility is the only one of two operating on the Island. Summerside normally keeps its electricity rate matched to that of Maritime Electric and reiterated that policy Tuesday night.</p>
A work crew with the Summerside Electric Utility works at a pole along Water Street East in the city’s downtown. - Colin MacLean/ FILE PHOTO

SUMMERSIDE, P.E.I. - Electricity is coming back on line for much of the city, but 25 residents will have to go without for a little longer while infrastructure is repaired.

Highway 2 near the St. Eleanor's Irving will remain closed while utilities clean up about 15 poles cracked in Thursday's storm and install new poles and lines.

Greg Gaudet, director of municipal services for the city, said he hopes the power will be back on late Saturday or early Sunday to those customers.

"We're working hard and coordinating with Maritime Electric to get them power as soon as possible."

The highway should be open around the end of the day Friday.

The lines on Highway 2 are shared between two utilities. Maritime Electric will clean up the downed poles and wires and install and frame new ones.

Overnight and tomorrow, they will install new wires and get them "up in the air," said Gaudet, adding that late Saturday, Summerside Electric will install their power lines.

"Maritime Electric and us, we always work together well in operations like this. We've helped them on occasion, and they help us on occasion whenever needed. We try to get through it as fast as possible to make sure the customers’ power is restored as quickly as possible."

The city and Summerside Electric will be handing out vouchers to the people for a free meal at Credit union place and access to the pool for a hot shower, he said.

The utility's generators are able to handle 50 per cent of the city's load. They start up if the power will be out for more than five minutes.

Thursday, utility workers juggled circuits to try and supply everyone with electricity for at least some of the day.

"If everything goes well, it's four hours on, four hours off," he said. It's a chance for folks to heat up their homes and run a sump pump. Gaudet said he recommends that anyone with a sump pump consider a battery back-0up.

Some areas that didn't get power included Gavin Estates, Maplewood Heights, Meadow Heights, Lefurgey subdivision and Norman Drive had damage to the infrastructure so they couldn't be reached by the generator's power.

High winds were prevented crews from getting to some of the repairs.

Power to the city was restored by 7:30 p.m.

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