P.E.I. electrical utility wants to make power grid more resilient post Fiona


The CEO of Maritime Electric is suggesting that budgets for Prince Edward Island’s electrical grid should be increased to withstand the next major storm.

Jason Roberts said Monday in an interview that the province’s energy regulator should “explore” boosting the public utility’s tree-cutting budget to make the power grid more resilient.

Roberts says downed trees and branches on the utility’s power lines caused the majority of the widespread outages in P.E.I. after post-tropical storm Fiona hit on Sept. 24.

He says Maritime Electric proposed to the regulator — before Fiona hit — to double spending on tree cutting and trimming to between $4 million or $5 million annually from about $2 million to $2.5 million per year.

That application, however, also indicated that the amount being spent by the utility to control risks was lower per kilometre of distribution line than in neighbouring provinces.

Roberts says the damage to the province from Fiona showed that current spending on tree cutting near power lines isn’t sufficient to withstand severe storms.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 18, 2022.

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