STORY CONTINUES BELOW THESE SALTWIRE VIDEOS
SaltWire’s Atlantic regional climate forecast for September 19, 2023 | SaltWire
Editor’s word: That is a part of an ongoing sequence of tales main as much as the one-year anniversary of post-tropical storm Fiona, Sept. 23-24.
CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. – Kim Griffin’s eyes nonetheless effectively up with tears when she thinks again to how post-tropical storm Fiona impacted P.E.I.
It was her job as spokesperson with Maritime Electrical to maintain Islanders updated with data on the utility’s effort to revive energy throughout the province.
For the primary time within the firm’s 100-year-plus historical past, 99 per cent of its 89,000 clients have been at midnight. Lots of these clients would go greater than three weeks with out electrical energy.
“I feel it actually modified us all,” Griffin advised SaltWire in an interview on Sept. 14. “I used to be doing the very best job I may to let folks know our crews have been doing the very best job they may. It actually bothered me (that individuals didn’t have energy).”
After Fiona pounded P.E.I. on Sept. 23-24, 2022, Griffin labored 17-hour days for 22 days straight.
She attended each board assembly on the utility and visited the Emergency Measures Group one block up on Kent Road in Charlottetown every day, in addition to an incident assist workplace that had been arrange. In between that, she was taking part in placing storm cleanup movies on YouTube whereas additionally speaking to media and dozens of consumers every day.
“Most instances, the vast majority of my day was attempting to determine how we have been progressing and ensuring I may assist folks perceive that.”
Griffin can be fast to thank her husband, Danny Jenkins, for taking good care of the children, and household and pals serving to round her dwelling as she labored these lengthy hours.
“I’m fortunate to have household assist,” she mentioned, her voice shaking.
She tried repeatedly throughout the interview with SaltWire to deflect the highlight off her, typically speaking in regards to the dozens of individuals working across the clock to search out lodging, the way to feed the a whole lot of individuals within the province working for Maritime Electrical from tip to tip and the way to get gas to crews throughout these early days when the Irving tank farm had no energy to produce gasoline.
She additionally talked about the numerous Islanders who provided line crews with sizzling espresso and muffins.
“The crews that got here from off-Island weren’t used to that,” she mentioned.
Assessing the injury
Griffin mentioned officers knew Fiona was going to be unhealthy, however nobody anticipated it to turn out to be the worst storm within the utility’s historical past.
She mentioned it was the kind of storm that appeared like a once-in-lifetime occasion however is aware of all too effectively it in all probability just isn’t.
“It was Dorian on prime of Dorian,” she mentioned, referring to post-tropical storm Dorian that hit P.E.I. in 2019. “However Fiona has modified us. It has made us all really feel extra weak. This was a brand new worst, it was a brand new period, a brand new deviation, it was a pure catastrophe.”
Maritime Electrical misplaced 1,200 electrical poles of the 140,000 it has throughout P.E.I. That’s lower than one per cent.
On the neighborhood degree, hundreds of bushes got here down and struck energy traces.
“Some roads have been fully blocked so our crews could not get by,” Griffin mentioned. “Within the winter time, in the event you can’t get by the snow you may name a snowplow. On this case, the vans have been capable of drive over a number of the tree particles however not all of it.”
Griffin mentioned not a day goes by that officers don’t deliver up Fiona in a method or one other.
Cleanup from the storm continues and there are some clients that also should not again of their properties but.
The utility has additionally recognized 500 bushes as harmful with foliage that will are available in contact with energy traces in a future storm.
Lots of these bushes are on personal property and can’t be lower with out the proprietor’s permission.
“An enormous quantity (of consumers) have mentioned ‘no’ to us and that has been an actual problem. So many individuals misplaced bushes in Fiona and there’s a actual emotional attachment to the bushes.”
The utility has pledged to spend between $5 million and $7 million per yr on tree trimming.
Dave Stewart is a well being reporter with SaltWire in Prince Edward Island. He will be reached by e mail at [email protected] and adopted on X @DveStewart.