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Mayor Calls for Independent Audit of
Nova Scotia Power
(Monday, November 15/04)-- The Nova Scotia Government should order an independent, comprehensive audit of the province’s largest power utility to determine its emergency preparedness and its communications with the public during major weather events, Mayor Peter Kelly said today.
Mayor Kelly said Nova Scotia Power is not living up to its commitment to keep its customers better informed when there are major power outages in HRM and other parts of Nova Scotia.
He said the corporation’s performance over the weekend was wholly inadequate and unsatisfactory, and as a result, many frustrated power-users were calling the HRM Corporate Call Centre looking for information about the outages.
The Mayor said the privately-held power utility has a track record of being a very poor communicator during times of emergency, and he cited the Hurricane Juan disaster, White Juan last February, and recently, during the pre-winter storm over the weekend.
“Nova Scotia Power has been admonished by the Utilities Review Board, it customers, and many others for its state of readiness and response during times of emergency, and its poor customer service during these major events. They just don’t seem to get it-- good communication with their customers is everything during a natural disaster or a public emergency,” Mayor Kelly said “How many more times do they have to hear it, and how many more winter storms and other major weather events do we have to go through, before things with Nova Scotia Power improve?”
Mayor Kelly said many Nova Scotians are beginning to question the structural integrity of Nova Scotia Power’s infrastructure and are becoming more critical of the Utility’s ability to respond effectively during times of emergency.
He said he was astounded at the attitude of NSP President Ralph Tedesco, who was quoted Sunday as saying “we know the power is out” and told customers not to contact the corporation’s call centre for information.
“When Nova Scotia Power shuts down its call centre, those inquiries usually ended up with the HRM Corporate Call Centre because people want information in times of emergency,”
the Mayor said. “We try our best to provide information to those callers, but it’s not our place to be answering questions about power outages--- and Nova Scotia Power has been quick to point that out to us. When residents call HRM about power outages, that ties up our lines for
people calling in about the services we, as a municipality, provide. We can’t be doing the Power Corporation’s work for them.”
Mayor Kelly continued “Other utilities seem to be able to operate successful customer inquiry lines during times of emergency; HRM is able to handle most of its calls and keep our residents up-to-date. What’s wrong with Nova Scotia Power? Yesterday wasn’t the first time they stopped answering the phones.”
Mayor Peter Kelly