Bluewater Power chief says damage in Alvinston ‘traumatic’ and may take until Saturday to fix
The head of Bluewater Power calls the storm damage in Alvinston “traumatic” and the worst to the local power infrastructure she’s ever seen.
And Janice McMichael-Dennis says it will likely be the weekend before power to everyone in Alvinston is restored.
Alvinston took a major hit Thursday afternoon as a storm crashed through the East Lambton community leaving streets littered with trees and crashing into some buildings. Residents describe heavy rain going sideways in the strong winds as the storm battered the community for 10 or 15 minutes.
When the skies cleared trees were strewn across the majority of the streets in the community and with that, many power lines came down.
McMichael-Dennis says the damage is significant.
“This is the most devastating localized impact I can recall. It’s the worst damage,” she said. “Even the impact of Hurricane Sandy – when a Bluewater Power employee lost his life in the aftermath – didn’t destroy as much infrastructure, she said.
“In some of the pockets, everything is completely destroyed. It’s daunting.”
The problem in Alvinston is complicated. Both Bluewater Power and Hydro One serve the community with some of Hydro One’s lines going through the urban area. One of those major power sources was damaged.
McMichael-Dennis says while both utilities are at work, they aren’t sure yet how many lines and poles will have to be replaced.
And that means a long wait for Alvinston residents waiting for power to be restored. “It hurts my hear to say this but some people won’t be restored until the weekend,” she says. “We have 425 customers out in Alvinston and then groups of 30, 20 or 50 in Sarnia; all of those have very significant damage.
“There are no more quick fixes.”
McMichael-Dennis heard just before noon that nine power workers from Chatham-Kent will be in Alvinston by 1 pm to help Bluewater Power crews.
McMichael-Dennis says some people in and around Alvinston will have power restored by nightfall Friday, however not every home will be restored. “At this point it is impossible to do that amount of work, so it will be into Saturday.”