Everyone I've spoken with says that the storm that hit the Annapolis Valley Monday night (December 13) was some of the strongest winds they could remember. All were thankful for the warmer than seasonal temperatures which kept the precipitation to rain and not snow.
The blew over so many trees, it ripped shingles off roofs, and in some cases took the whole roof off of buildings. The damage of trees falling onto homes, cars and other property has caused massive damage. One of my first experiences with the Valley was at the Berwick United Church Campground. They have beautiful grounds with many trees and buildings. Over half the buildings were damaged due to the storm and they have lost a lot of trees.
The storm knocked out power to over 80,000 customers and just as of earlier today the 17th the Nova Scotia Power website is showing all outages finally clear. Although it is horrible to be without electricity I think that Nova Scotia Power did a pretty good job at keeping the public informed on where they stood in the repair process. Their website was constantly updated, and they have a good mobile website for people who have to access it via their phone. They even setup an automated call to inform me that the outage in my area was fixed so if I still had problems to call them because it was something specific to our home.
To me one of the most important things in a situation like this is keeping people informed. Even though it does little to change the length of time you are without services it helps people feel better that they know progress is being made. Even if estimated times of repair change, at least they have a rough idea of when they might have service back.
At my home we were lucky, we had power back sometime Tuesday morning, we didn't even lose our milk and the house never got too cold. Thousands of people were not so lucky. When we did get our power back however we didn't have any of our services from EastLink. This included our phone, internet and cable. Again this is understandable there was lots of damage and it takes time to repair. The frustrating part was their lack of communication and miscommunication that took place. Every contact I had with them, and there was quite a few, left me frustrated and with a different story than before.
EastLink is in severe need of working on first their internal communication skills. The front end people have no idea what is going on. My first few calls I hung up after hearing their recorded message. After that I waited to talk to a person to get a better estimate of how long things would be out. The stories ranged from all Nova Scotia Powers problem. Once they had power restored I would have service. Then fibre optic cables were damaged and that would take a long time to repair. Then I wasn't part of an outage, then I was. Then there was no outage in my area of the Valley even though their recorded message just said there was.
It's obvious that power is more essential than phone, cable and internet, but for many people the phone may be their only way to contact emergency services if something happened, and the internet is essential to lots of people who earn their living online. If Nova Scotia Power can provide the types of updates they do, than companies like EastLink must be able to as well.